Is Wikipedia getting into social networking?

WikiBookWe've been hearing bits and pieces of Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales' big plans for a search engine for a while now. But it's never been entirely clear how this human-powered search engine would look. Would it be more like Google or Mahalo?

South African blogger Matthew Buckland raises a third option that we hadn't considered. It could look a lot like Facebook.

Last night Wales showed a few screenshots of his new search project to a South African audience. Buckland was in attendance, and he says some of the screenshots looked exactly like Facebook profile pages. Now, this doesn't necessarily mean that your search results are going to take you to social networking style pages. Honestly, that doesn't even make much sense. If you're searching for information on Abraham Lincoln, you probably don't expect to find his MySpace page.

So these screenshots could just be showing the user profiles of Wikiasari editors. But considering how many people read and edit Wikipedia every day, we could easily see any sort of social networking component growing pretty big and fast. And without Facebook-style advertising.

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