Wikia, the commercial site headed by Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales has acquired Grub, a distributed crawling service, which will be used for the forthcoming open source, human assisted search engine, which is expected to launch by the end of the year.

Grub technology will be used to build an index for the Search Wikia project – Grub’s technology uses idle time on volunteers’ PCs to crawl the web.

Grub was formerly owned by LookSmart, and the acquisition is believed to be part o an advertising deal between Wikia and LookSmart in which LookSmart’s ad serving platform will deliver text and display ads on the new search engine.

Wales said last year that internet search was broken, and believes that the Search Wikia project can provide better search results than those offered by Google, Yahoo! and other major search engines.

To eliminate spam and other unwanted content from search results, the Search Wikia project will invite users to participate in the project. They will be able to rank websites and pages, provide feedback and discuss editorial decisions, as with Wikipedia.

According to Jimmy Wales:
“The desire to collaborate and support a transparent and open platform for search is clearly deeply exciting to both open source and businesses. Look for other exciting announcements in the coming months as we collectively work to free the judgment of information from invisible rules inside an algorithmic black box.”

The  public can participate in the project by downloading the Grub application to help create an index with the unused PC time. A bet version of the search engine will be released by the end of the year, though Wales says that this will not be the finished product.