I’m a big fan of decentralized technologies. In my quest to decouple myself from the major corporations that seem inclined to wage war on the Internet I’ve been looking high and low for a search engine not run by Google or Microsoft. My quest has finally provided some fruit in the form of YaCy.
YaCy is a peer-to-peer search engine that can be run on Windows, Linux, or OS X (technically, since it’s written in Java, it should also run on other platforms). Instead of relying on centralized entities to crawl and index the Internet YaCy relies on each peer. I’ve setup a test server running YaCy to see how well it works and so far it shows promise. Granted, the search data isn’t nearly as complete as Google or Microsoft’s data at this point but that will almost certainly improve overtime. YaCy doesn’t do as good of a job at ranking search criteria based on how useful it is (at least in the eye’s of whatever search algorithm is being used) but that is likely to improve in time as well.
With those criticisms aside, and considering the limited amount of time I’ve had to play with it, YaCy does have one major advantage over Google or Bing: there is no central authority. State’s rely on central authorities to coerce into removing data when they want to enforce their archaic censorship laws. If no central authority exists it becomes much harder to enact censorship, which is where my primary interest in YaCy derives.
I’m planning to make the search interface publicly accessible in the near future so you guys can test it out. While I won’t promise a replacement for Google or Bing I will promise an interesting technology that’s worth experimenting with.