Monday, July 09, 2007

Wikipedia: The New Google?

The other day over lunch, x86 optimizing expert Rich Gerber articulated a change in his on-line searching that has also been showing up in my habits recently: I often search for a term in Wikipedia before I look in Google. And in many cases, my quest ends successfully in Wikipedia without recourse to Google or additional searching.

The difference is not so much in the quality of the information (although Wikipedia is demonstrably excellent), but in the quality of the links. For example, compare Wikipedia and Google results for Lua. Do Google first. At first blush, the results look pretty good. Then, search via Wikipedia. See those links, and you'll need no further convincing. (For the moment, I won't bring in the language tutorial and lots of other useful information found on the same page.)

As Gerber points out succinctly: Which would you rather have: a machine's interpolation of relevant links or links chosen by experts?


Anonymous said...

I wouldn't trust Wikipedia for anything controversial (e.g. religious or political). Also, Wikipedia does have a kind of arrogant tone to it.

But that said, it is another useful resource.

abra said...

surprisingly!i too eas thinking of the same thing and in fact i know many people who rely on wikipedia more than google,probably because the links provided are by "actual" humans who have gone through that material than some mathematical search algorithm,though digg,etc. are also built on similar lines but are yet to catchup.