Ever since I heard on Alex Jones that Google is connected with the NSA, I’ve wondered if some of my searches are being censored. Are there some real leaked UFO photos? Evidence about some conspiracy? Today I’m trying YaCy.
There are already several search networks based on YaCy: the two major networks are the ‘freeworld’ network (which is the default public network that you join when you load the standard installation of YaCy) and the Sciencenet of the Karlsruhe Institut of Technology which focuses on scientific content. Other YaCy networks exist as TOR hidden services, local intranet services and on WiFi networks too.
YaCy is a free search engine that anyone can use to build a search portal for their intranet or to help search the public internet. When contributing to the world-wide peer network, the scale of YaCy is limited only by the number of users in the world and can index billions of web pages. It is fully decentralized, all users of the search engine network are equal, the network does not store user search requests and it is not possible for anyone to censor the content of the shared index. We want to achieve freedom of information through a free, distributed web search which is powered by the world’s users.
Here is an older article about it. YaCy is up to version 1.02 with installers for windows, gnu linux and mac OS.
Following the release on Monday of YaCy 1.0, a free, peer-to-peer search engine, many in the media were quick to view it as a challenge to Google, Bing and the other big contenders in the search arena.
Since then, however, Karsten Gerloff, president of the Free Software Foundation of Europe–a key supporter–has spoken out to make the point that that’s not the intent.
â€œYaCy isnâ€™t a challenge to Google, and is a long way from becoming one,â€ Gerloff wrote in a blog post on Wednesday. â€œItâ€™s not even intended to challenge Google. What it is is a new, exciting approach to web search that empowers users.â€
The new search engine doesn’t necessarily aim to deliver results better or faster than Google and the big guys, Gerloff explains; rather, it’s a step in the direction of distributed systems through which no one entity serves as a gatekeeper for information.
Gerloff noted in a separate blog post from earlier in the week why that’s important: â€œIf a search engine is run by a single company, that company gets to decide how the results are generated and how they are ranked,â€ he wrote. â€œThat company will also know what youâ€™re currently interested in. Targeted advertising is only the most benign use of this data.â€
Just as we’ve seen Identi.ca emerge with a free software alternative to Twitter, Diaspora with a free counterpart to Facebook, and GNU Free Call as a Skype alternative, so YaCy hopes to provide a free, peer-to-peer alternative to the many centrally controlled search engines we have today.
For Windows, you install, then run the program, then permit Java through your firewall. The program brings up a web page pointed to your own computer (localhost) which uses the distributed network to search. At first I wasn’t getting results, but after a few minutes when the connections spread out, it found some interesting things. Try it! I quickly found this image of bigfoot that I haven’t seen yet in a google image search: