The ever-intriguing Jason Calacanis has showed increasing interest in Wiki lately, interviewing Larry Sanger for his podcast and making occasional appearances on Wikipedia-L. Calacanis, who recently sold Weblogs for $25 Million to AOL, attended Wikimania 2006 and has expressed plans of attending Wikimania 2007.
It now appears Calacanis may have a vested interest in Wiki. ValleyWag is reporting that Jason has already hired 20 engineers to begin building a Google-Wikipedia mashup. The concept is a human-edited search engine that can provide more relevant results than Google’s algorithm.
That’s because Jimmy Wales has been working on this idea since at least March, 2004. It’s called Wikia Search and was covered by TechCrunch in December. This competition could help to explain why Jason recently positioned himself against Jimmy Wales with some pretty tough language.
Calacanis claims ValleyWag’s report is 100% untrue. But it is curious how many details ValleyWag was able to report, replete with comments from developers who have seen the prototype. And ValleyWag Overlord Nick Denton seems pretty sure Jason has something up his sleeve. Will be interesting to see what exactly Calacanis is working on, or if I am simply another cog in the rumor mill.
Update: GigaOM has more info today on Calacanis’s Wikipedia-like “Project X.” GigaOM believes the project is more of an editor-controlled content portal, as opposed to a wiki search.