TechCrunch's Michael Arrington has the scoop on WikiSeek, apparently the screen shot that they showed last month with the big Wikiasari hysteria, was really for WikiSeek, not Wikiasari (or Search Wikia as Wales' site is calling it). Now, if Arrington got confused about what or how WikiSeek was involved with Wikiapedia's Wikiasari, it won't be surprising if the rest of us do, too.
WikiSeek is a search engine based on Wikiapedia's site and other Wikiapedia like engines like the Star Wars based Wiki, Wookieepedia. WikiSeek will also spider and include all sites that are linked within these Wikis. WikiSeek also states "The contents of Wikiseek are restricted to Wikipedia pages and only those sites which are referenced within Wikipedia, making it an authoritative source of information less subject to spam and SEO schemes."
This is all well and good, but why, if Wales' was giving cooperation to SearchMe to build WikiSeek, is Wales going through with WikiaSearch? What will be so different? With this project already testing in Beta, WikiSeek has got a heck of a head start with branding and name recognition. There will definitely be identity and brand confusion if Wales' project launches within the time frame of this first quarter 2007.
Other than branding, I'd also just like to point that "less subject to spam and SEO schemes" part that SearchMe is touting. Wikipedia itself is subject to SEO schemes, so saying this is moot - the engine just perpetuates the "gaming" that is going on within Wikipedia already. Granted, a webmaster can't send an inclusion request to SearchMe's WikiSeek, but anyone in the Search Industry already knows that the humans who administer Wikipedia can be manipulated, and a lot of times have their own agendas, along with all the other "games" and "schemes" that go on by the very aggressive search marketers.
This certainly won't be a "Google Killer", it will make searching on Wikipedia a lot easier, but this search engine, in essence is just another Vertical Search Engine. Just like a the Shopping Search Engines, which specialize in just retail site, this specializes in just Wiki-type sites. The only thing that will be interesting to watch is how WikiSeek and Jimbo Wales' WikiaSearch project differentiate themselves from one another.
Danny Sullivan has an excellent review of WikiSeek over at Search Engine Land: Wikiseek: Leveraging Wikipedia For Web Search, Poorly