The founder of online encyclopedia Wikipedia is developing a community-driven search tool to compete with Google and Yahoo.

Jimmy Wales announced the proposed project in a blog posting over the weekend.

Wales envisions "a new kind of search engine, which relies on human intelligence to do what algorithms cannot" he wrote.

Wales said current search-engine technology is "broken."

"It is broken for the same reason that proprietary software is always broken: lack of freedom, lack of community, lack of accountability [and] lack of transparency. Here, we will change all that," he said.

Google relies on a page-ranking system to conduct its searches. Pages are ranked higher the more times other pages link to it. Links from popular pages also receive more weight in the ranking system.

But Wales told The Times of London the results produced by Google are inconsistent.

"Google is very good at many types of search," Wales told The Times. "But in many instances it produces nothing but spam and useless crap."

Wikipedia, written and edited byonline users,has become a popular alternative information source on the internet. But it has also been controversial because of the ease with which users can tamper with information on the site.

The search engine, which does not yet have a name, has been dubbed Wikia or Wikiasari in early press reports because the site acting as a platform for developing the search engine is called "Search Wikia."

Wikia is actually the name for a business division created last year to house a number of product lines, which includes the free hosting service OpenServing.

The new project is slated to launch as early as the first quarter of 2007.