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Free Software Activists Take On Google Search

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the just-hope-the-spammers-don't-download-it dept.

Google 254

alphadogg writes "Free software activists have released a peer-to-peer search engine to take on Google, Yahoo, Bing and others. The free, distributed search engine, YaCy, takes a new approach to search. Rather than using a central server, its search results come from a network of independent 'peers,' users who have downloaded the YaCy software. The aim is that no single entity gets to decide what gets listed, or in which order results appear. 'Most of what we do on the Internet involves search. It's the vital link between us and the information we're looking for. For such an essential function, we cannot rely on a few large companies and compromise our privacy in the process,' said Michael Christen, YaCy's project leader."

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Well (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38196012)

Result: Search results will be controlled by botnets

Re:Well (4, Insightful)

Intron (870560) | more than 2 years ago | (#38196042)

Result: Search results will be controlled by botnets

Yes. What's to stop me from downloading the code, modifying it to put my results on top and then joining my 1000 or so servers to the pool? You only need a small advantage to get big differences in results -- the difference between 10th and 11th place is page one vs obscurity.

Re:Well (5, Informative)

HFShadow (530449) | more than 2 years ago | (#38196114)

This has been solved by distributed computing a long time ago, you simply get more than on worker to check the results and if anything looks fishy chuck away everything from that worker.

Not that this makes this any better of an idea.

Re:Well (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 2 years ago | (#38196344)

Or you could get each search server to solve a small np-hard problem in real-time before serving its results.

You could call it "shitcoinfo" or "botsnot" or "captchayerknows" or "altacocker" or something.

Re:Well (5, Insightful)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | more than 2 years ago | (#38196116)

The great thing about centralised search engines is that they're not gamed... oh wait...

...is that it isn't in the provider's interest to encourage spam domains full of adverts brokered by itself... oh wait...

...is that there's careful control over dissemination of information so privacy is not compromised... oh wait...

A p2p search engine will have different problems. But in the limit perhaps it'll be like a load of Google or whatever servers sitting around the Internet instead of in one or two datacentres.

Re:Well (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38196282)

At least it actually is in the interest of search providers like Google, Yahoo and Microsoft to produce useful results in order to achieve / maintain a large userbase.
Not so much in the interest of somebody who simply sees a distributed search engine as his chance to drive fews to his blog / ad collection / malware site.

Also (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38196438)

...is that they won't bow to censorship... oh wait...

Re:Well (4, Insightful)

blackraven14250 (902843) | more than 2 years ago | (#38196762)

If it were in Google's interest to bump spam domains to the top, it wouldn't be the useful search engine with leading market share that it is today, as it would have already bumped said results.

Re:Well (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 2 years ago | (#38197078)

But in the limit perhaps it'll be like a load of Google or whatever servers sitting around the Internet instead of in one or two datacentres.

But Google has a lot of servers around the internet, not just in one or two datacenters, so basically your pie-in-the-sky best-case scenario for this alternative is that it might, if everything goes well, end up being just like Google.

Which is great, but if I want something just like Google, I can, you know, just use Google.

Re:Well (2)

pro151 (2021702) | more than 2 years ago | (#38196056)

Even if you are an Anonymous Coward, I agree with you. Talk about a search engine with absolutely no controls at all. I call fail before it is even started.

Re:Well (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38196108)

Whatta comment! So insightful! WOW! Would read again!

Re:Well (5, Funny)

Rei (128717) | more than 2 years ago | (#38196306)

Instead of insight, comment contained bobcat. Would not read again.
 

Re:Well (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38196324)

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Re:Well (5, Interesting)

Rei (128717) | more than 2 years ago | (#38196292)

The whole "portal only as an afterthought demo" seems to me a huge flaw as well. You think your average person is going to install this on their computer just so they can do web searches? Not-going-to-happen. People who want to run it, will. People who don't or don't know how, won't. They're the 99.99%. They need a portal. Clients should automatically be putting themselves in the portal-switching queue.

As for the capabilities, I just tried it out [yacy.net] . The results are *extremely* few and very poor. "Dog" gets five hits, for example. You'd almost think it was a joke. Hopefully this was a load problem or a problem due to a lack of scaling in the system thusfar, and not a design flaw.

At least their frontend doesn't seem designed with injection in mind. Start off a search with ' (such as 'Test) and watch what happens to the peer listed at the bottom of the page. I doubt that particular issue is exploitable, but if this a habit of one of their coders...

But it's distributed! It can't have flaws! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38196092)

Haven't you heard? It's distributed! IT'S DISTRIBUTED! IT HAS TO BE PERFECT!

Are you seriously telling me that the Cloud isn't perfect? It's distributed!

Are you seriously telling me that Diaspora isn't the most secure and perfect social media platform? It's distributed!

Distributed is clearly the key to software perfection.

Re:Well (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38196118)

Or the big companies like Google. Didn't really think this through did they.

Got to get off my lazy butt... (4, Interesting)

xTantrum (919048) | more than 2 years ago | (#38196216)

...and start coding my ideas. First itunes, then fb and now p2p search. Just goes to show ideas are a dime a dozen its just who implements it first. Can't wait to see how this turns out though. P2P is really how the internet should be structured as much as possible.

Re:Got to get off my lazy butt... (3, Insightful)

dmbasso (1052166) | more than 2 years ago | (#38196726)

Just goes to show ideas are a dime a dozen

Exactly, and that's the reason the patent system only works for lawyers these days.

Re:Well (1)

kheldan (1460303) | more than 2 years ago | (#38196418)

Another result: People who don't have unlimited bandwidth per month will use all theirs up supporting other people's searches.

Re:Well (4, Insightful)

alexgieg (948359) | more than 2 years ago | (#38196640)

This system probably solves spam the same way Freenet managed to eliminate it from its boards: by adopting a(n anonymous) Web Of Trust model. In practice, you'll only see results coming from those you trust directly or indirectly. The fake results will be there, but buried.

And even if they currently don't do that due to the smallness of the network, at some point they will. It's unavoidable.

Although the problem then might become you only seeing what you like because your friends/trusted nodes all think more or less the same, hence basically shielding yourself from different views. But then, mainstream search engines already do something like this, so it won't be that different from what we already have.

Question (3, Insightful)

StripedCow (776465) | more than 2 years ago | (#38196044)

Will one client be able to view the queries of its peers?

If yes, how is that an improvement?
If no, how does it work?

Re:Question (3, Interesting)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | more than 2 years ago | (#38196084)

Will one client be able to view the queries of its peers?

If yes, how is that an improvement? If no, how does it work?

From TFA: [yacy.net]

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.

However, that seems to be all the information there is on the process... doesn't quite assuage the ol' paranoia circuits, does it?

Re:Question (2)

viperidaenz (2515578) | more than 2 years ago | (#38196202)

From TFA: [yacy.net]

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.

Providing noone modifies the open source code to log user search requests and censor queries

Re:Question (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#38196402)

From TFA: [yacy.net]

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.

Providing noone modifies the open source code to log user search requests and censor queries

I'd be more concerned with some people stacking search results with links to spoof sites or malware servers.

Is this proofed against someone reverse engineering it and crap-flooding the results?

Re:Question (2)

19thNervousBreakdown (768619) | more than 2 years ago | (#38196222)

From TFA: [yacy.net]

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.

However, that seems to be all the information there is on the process... doesn't quite assuage the ol' paranoia circuits, does it?

The network stores everything.

Re:Question (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | more than 2 years ago | (#38196508)

From TFA: [yacy.net]

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.

And we all know that noone will ever modify their portion of the decentralized system to do any of these awful things....

Re:Question (2)

adolf (21054) | more than 2 years ago | (#38196764)

Because, you know, I'm sure that YaCy is totally and absolutely 100% efficient about things. Every peer obviously has a list of URLs that it is responsible for, and every peer is capable of censoring anything on its list, and there will never be more than 1 copy of any shred of data.[/sarcasm]

Except it doesn't really work that way, as since nobody is in charge, nobody can dictate who will index what. You can censor the data on your own node and you'll certainly be successful (it's your computer, after all). YaCy even has some built-in blacklist functionality which you can set up yourself to make it easy, if that's what you want to do.

But what you're missing is there's always going to be this other peer right over there that is merrily going about its business indexing all of that stuff that you don't like.

And chances are, that whatever it is that folks might want to actively censor is contentious enough that other folks will actively work toward indexing it. (Streisand effect, etc.)

*shrug*

Great (5, Funny)

Moheeheeko (1682914) | more than 2 years ago | (#38196062)

Only used by neckbeards = all search results will be tentacle hentai and open source software websites.

Awesome...

Re:Great (5, Funny)

datavirtue (1104259) | more than 2 years ago | (#38196512)

Dude, that would be an awesome search engine name: neckbeard. Catchy and meaningful, easy to remember.

Re:Great (0)

bryan1945 (301828) | more than 2 years ago | (#38196788)

I wish I had mod points.

Re:Great (1)

SlippyToad (240532) | more than 2 years ago | (#38196784)

I just searched on my local YaCy install for tentacle hentai.

I somehow ended up on the front page of Daily Kos.

great stuff (2)

alphatel (1450715) | more than 2 years ago | (#38196064)

It's hard to argue with "free" and "freedom", so I give it the thumbs up. But in this day and age it feels like going from a Ducati Panigale to a 1950's Triumph Bonneville.

Re:great stuff (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 2 years ago | (#38196668)

It's hard to argue with "free" and "freedom", so I give it the thumbs up. But in this day and age it feels like going from a Ducati Panigale to a 1950's Triumph Bonneville.

Lots of people said basically the same thing back when the linux kernel was still numbered 0.9x.

Ummm (4, Insightful)

Webs 101 (798265) | more than 2 years ago | (#38196070)

Yahoo's search engine IS Bing.

Come FLOSS Devs, We Need Better Names! (4, Insightful)

DMFNR (1986182) | more than 2 years ago | (#38196126)

Of course they decide to give it a name that doesn't even look like a word. I can't think of a singled popular search engine that doesn't have a catchy name. How do these free software developers expect the word to get around about their software when nobody can pronounce it and probably won't even remember what it was called? Especially a peer to peer search engine which I would imagine depends even more on a decent amount of people actually using it than a regular search engine.

Re:Come FLOSS Devs, We Need Better Names! (2)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 2 years ago | (#38196174)

Because most names are taken and they don't have a legal team to do research.

Re:Come FLOSS Devs, We Need Better Names! (1)

datavirtue (1104259) | more than 2 years ago | (#38196482)

How about SLING! It is better than BING.

Re:Come FLOSS Devs, We Need Better Names! (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 2 years ago | (#38196566)

Why would you need a legal team? USPTO offers an online search for trademarks.

Re:Come FLOSS Devs, We Need Better Names! (1)

adolf (21054) | more than 2 years ago | (#38196894)

Trademarks don't need to be registered with the USPTO in order to be enforceable and actionable.

A mark need only be used in trade and -- zing! -- it's a trademark. Registering just makes it easier if/when things get ugly enough that a court gets involved, and makes it easier for others to avoid infringement in the first place.

This aspect of a trademark is a lot closer to copyright than it is to patents. Unlike patents, neither copyrights nor trademarks must be registered with a central body, although both of them can be.

Re:Come FLOSS Devs, We Need Better Names! (4, Insightful)

markdavis (642305) | more than 2 years ago | (#38196204)

+1 Mod parent up.

Seems the geeky crowd still doesn't understand that marketing DOES play a critical role in the popularity of any type of project. "YaCy" really does suck- it is impossible to say, isn't a word, introduces strange capitalization, and it is not even easy to remember.

Re:Come FLOSS Devs, We Need Better Names! (4, Insightful)

adolf (21054) | more than 2 years ago | (#38196318)

Seems the geeky crowd still doesn't understand that marketing DOES play a critical role in the popularity of any type of project. "YaCy" really does suck- it is impossible to say, isn't a word, introduces strange capitalization, and it is not even easy to remember.

So fork it, changing only the name, and release it yourself under a more marketable moniker. The technical aspects of doing this are easy.

And if you think selecting a catchy, unencumbered name is also easy, then you really shouldn't have any problem pulling it off.

It's all GPL, so you can pretty much do what you want with it. If you really want to be in charge of marketing and distribution for a GPL project, the only thing stopping you is you.

Re:Come FLOSS Devs, We Need Better Names! (1)

Meski (774546) | more than 2 years ago | (#38196348)

Yay-cee was how I was saying it to myself. Rhymes with racy. Just ignore the mid-word capatilisation, it'll go away when the project is properly capitalised. :^^)

Re:Come FLOSS Devs, We Need Better Names! (1)

bryan1945 (301828) | more than 2 years ago | (#38196854)

I'd go with "Yucky." Self deferential. (What, like Yahoo! or Bing are awesome?) Or maybe Yoggyso, if they can get away with it. (What, like Google makes sense?)

Yahtzee (4, Funny)

pavon (30274) | more than 2 years ago | (#38196248)

I assumed it was intended to be pronounced like Yahtzee, which is both memorable and quite descriptive of the quality of results you can expect.

Re:Yahtzee (1)

pclminion (145572) | more than 2 years ago | (#38196564)

It's yuh-CEE, ya see?

Re:Come FLOSS Devs, We Need Better Names! (4, Funny)

raftpeople (844215) | more than 2 years ago | (#38196536)

Other names they considered that were equally bad:
1) FreEble
2) !!_//[%%%
3) Bing
3) xkCQQT

Re:Come FLOSS Devs, We Need Better Names! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38196554)

It sounds like "yucky" hopefully being named such it encourages users to check for criticism before jumping towards every bs claim made online but doubt it!

Cool, but what's in it for the peers? (5, Interesting)

91degrees (207121) | more than 2 years ago | (#38196134)

While these things can succeed on the backs of some philanthropic individuals, it's just human nature that to get a decent community, you need to benefit the supporters in some way.

Doesn't need to be any formal system. Free software, for example, seems to be based more on the honour system than anything else, but people do develop free software because there's something in it for them - software tailored to their needs. What is the incentive for being a search peer?

Re:Cool, but what's in it for the peers? (4, Interesting)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#38196792)

I sketched out a few designs for a decentralised search engine (but didn't implement them, so kudos to these guys for actually bothering), and one of the ideas I had was to allow nodes to return sponsored links (e.g. Amazon referrals). The client would display these for the top few nodes and track the reputations of individual peers. The more users who liked the search results that you returned, the more of them would see your sponsored links. If you came up with a ranking algorithm that did a better job than existing ones, then you'd get a bigger slice of the advertising space. It's essentially the same business model as Google, just on a smaller scale.

Java... (4, Interesting)

HBI (604924) | more than 2 years ago | (#38196160)

I was going to load up a peer but there's no way i'm running Java. I've almost completely excised it from all of my computers, no going back.

Re:Java... (-1, Flamebait)

datavirtue (1104259) | more than 2 years ago | (#38196466)

Yeah, cuz Java == Evil, yeah! What a tard

Re:Java... (2)

HBI (604924) | more than 2 years ago | (#38196574)

Yeah, it is evil. Why should I have a slow - certainly slower than native, memory hogging runtime package for every application, requiring myriad versions depending on the support level from the vendor? I'd rather just not have the crap on my system, thanks. I feel the same way about .NET/Mono if that makes you feel any better.

Re:Java... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38196638)

Not evil, no... but annoying as fuck, yes.

I've yet to see anything written in Java that didn't seem bloated, slow, and annoying.

Re:Java... (4, Interesting)

vadim_t (324782) | more than 2 years ago | (#38196544)

Ugh, yeah. Another cool project is going to be held back by Java.

Way back, this happened with Freenet. I thought it was a cool idea, but the darn thing wasn't happy with all the 256MB I could give it. Even now, Java is still a considerable load on laptops with 4GB RAM.

I think that for best adoption they should have concentrated on making it small and light. If it can be run in say, 64MB RAM then you can install it anywhere. And it's quite likely that a good part of why Freenet was so horrible when I tried it, is because it made a lot of the machines it ran on swap like crazy.

Re:Java... (3, Funny)

TheInternetGuy (2006682) | more than 2 years ago | (#38197120)

That's OK, please join me in my efforts in porting this over to Flash.

Re:Java... (4, Interesting)

HBI (604924) | more than 2 years ago | (#38197176)

I'd be interested in porting it to C, actually.

No control over disk usage (4, Interesting)

markdavis (642305) | more than 2 years ago | (#38196162)

This whole concept seems quite fascinating/interesting. Ironically, two questions came to my mind immediately:

1) How much bandwidth does this take?
2) How much disk space does this take?

Neither question is answered on their FAQ ( http://www.yacy-websuche.de/wiki/index.php/En:FAQ [yacy-websuche.de] ), although they addressed the disk space issue thus: "Can I limit the size of the indexes on my hard-drive? For the moment no. Automatically limiting that size would mean having to delete stored indexes, which is not suitable. "

Yikes! I am not sure how many people will want to run a local YaCy client when there is no control over how much disk space it uses (or, apparently, bandwidth). It still has a lot of promise, though.

Re:No control over disk usage (1)

one_who_uses_unix (68992) | more than 2 years ago | (#38196190)

Disk quotas or separate file systems are a simple solution to this problem. Just takes a little more work than a line in a config file.

Re:No control over disk usage (2)

markdavis (642305) | more than 2 years ago | (#38196254)

I wonder what happens when the thing runs out of space? If you can't set how much it uses, then how are we to know that it handles running out of space "gracefully"?

Also, you (presumably) and I are Linux users- so quotas, separate file systems, loopbacks, space checking, or whatever, are not rocket science. But that could be a lot more challenging for the people doing this on MS-Windows. Some users might be thinking they are "helping the world" by installing that app, then months later not understand why their computers are crashing with "no space left" type problems.

Re:No control over disk usage (4, Insightful)

Meski (774546) | more than 2 years ago | (#38196472)

I'd wonder about what readable or easily decodable data might be found on your local drive. Do you think telling the authorities that raid your computer that you aren't responsible for illicit content (think about it doing something like google cache on a pron site) or url's to sites the government disapproves of etc, is going to be believable?

Re:No control over disk usage (5, Insightful)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 2 years ago | (#38196194)

Run it in a VM. limit its disk space and networking in one fell swoop.

Re:No control over disk usage (2)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#38196358)

3) What is to stop a malicious node in the network from getting my search history?

All of their claims about privacy seem to be implementation details of their code (which, being open source, is trivial to modify). They don't tell me how they designed the protocol to be avoid someone modifying the code to record searches or even to inject phishing sites into the top lists.

Re:No control over disk usage (1)

KlomDark (6370) | more than 2 years ago | (#38196496)

Yikes! I am not sure how many people will want to run a local YaCy client when there is no control over how much disk space it uses

Hasn't stopped Microsoft - Have you SEEN the size of C:\Windows\winsxs?? (AKA Window 7's fatal flaw) And they have no plan to do anything about it, and there's nothing you can do about it. You can't move it, you can't delete obsolete files from it, it just slowly fills any partition you put it on. (Filling your boot drive is "By Design" according to Microsoft.)

Might work better if... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38196168)

Wouldn't it work better if they used a collection of crowd-sourced knowledge from these places to determine search result relevance?

Just Installed it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38196176)

Worked pretty well. Not google yet but i still like open and will use it.
That gets everybody's nose out of my search business.

Re:Just Installed it. (2)

Zephiris (788562) | more than 2 years ago | (#38196284)

Cool. "Therefore, more complex ranking algorithms such as those used by Google (which analyze rank using a variety of contextual factors developed during webspidering) are not available in YaCy, placing severe limits on most users' means to retrieve the results they seek. For instance, none of the top 10 results returned by YaCy's public search when queried "Google" actually refer to Google's homepage."

Nerdy Nomenclature (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38196186)

Once again, free software forgoes immediate pronouncability and a name that would draw people in, instead opting for some weird (but clever and nerdy most likely) acronym that will not remain in people's minds.

Re:Nerdy Nomenclature (1)

bmo (77928) | more than 2 years ago | (#38196256)

YaCy

Yay-See.

Sure. Unpronounceable.

--
BMO

Re:Nerdy Nomenclature (1)

Pesticidal (1148911) | more than 2 years ago | (#38196368)

How do you pronounce SyFy then (which I agree is even more ridiculous) ?

Re:Nerdy Nomenclature (1)

J'raxis (248192) | more than 2 years ago | (#38197196)

Siffy. Short for syphilis.

Re:Nerdy Nomenclature (1)

Bucky24 (1943328) | more than 2 years ago | (#38197220)

I refuse to accept their name change and still call it SciFi. But I don't watch it anymore anyway :( it's really gone downhill in the last few years.

Re:Nerdy Nomenclature (2)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#38196372)

Hmm, I'd have said it with a hard C, and then it sounds a lot like yucky, which isn't a great name.

Re:Nerdy Nomenclature (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38196400)

YaCy

Yay-See.

Sure. Unpronounceable.

He said 'immediate pronouncability', but your strawman is nice too.

It could just as easily be:
Yah-sigh
Yay-sigh
Yackey
Yar-key
Yay-key
Yack-kye
Yar-kye
Yay-kye

Re:Nerdy Nomenclature (1)

HJED (1304957) | more than 2 years ago | (#38196450)

Really I thought I was pronounced Yakiee

how to say YaCy? (1)

dittbub (2425592) | more than 2 years ago | (#38196238)

people won't like it if they don't know how to pronounce it.

Re:how to say YaCy? (2)

Spy Handler (822350) | more than 2 years ago | (#38196350)

it's pronounced like:

Yahoo + Cyborg

Re:how to say YaCy? (1)

KlomDark (6370) | more than 2 years ago | (#38196518)

Yaw-Sigh? Ewww...

Re:how to say YaCy? (1)

exomondo (1725132) | more than 2 years ago | (#38196644)

Yaw-Sigh? Ewww...

Yahoo, not Yawhoo.

Re:how to say YaCy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38196728)

I'd like to know how you manage to pronounce those two differently. /ja/ is the same sound no matter how you spell it: Yah, Yaw, or Ja.

Re:how to say YaCy? (1)

Bucky24 (1943328) | more than 2 years ago | (#38197234)

There's a very subtle difference between aw and ah. I'm certainly no linguist, but I think it's awe vs ach (with an almost silent c).

Re:how to say YaCy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38196370)

Like Racy - Yay - see.

See?

Follow the Sun search (1)

UnresolvedExternal (665288) | more than 2 years ago | (#38196252)

Disclaimer: Your search results will be tainted with the opinions of whatever country has their computers turned on at the moment...

I'm not seeing why this should be tried. (3, Interesting)

cshark (673578) | more than 2 years ago | (#38196286)

Haven't we learned from gnutella, and the others, that this kind of thing just doesn't work? That it'll get overwhelmed by spam, hackers, you name it? I'll try it because I always try new p2p type stuff. But I'm really hoping they have a good security team.

You only get one chance to make a first impression (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38196326)

And they have made a terrible first impression. They never should have issued a press release touting their search demo page when their index is so terribly thin.

It reminds me of the launch of "cuil" which was another over-hyped disaster.

As a test, I searched for the word "trout" and got back 0 results. They didn't even return the wikipedia page for trout. In contrast, google claims to have 62,500,000 results for trout, although they never let you see more than 1000 results. However you can at least assume that google has given you the best 1000 pages out of the 62.5 million results in its index, whether or not you agree with their idea of what is "best".

Aside from all of the previously mentioned, and in my opinion insurmountable, problems with spammers downloading the code and modifying it to game the results, they have failed to make a good first impression, and their project is, for that and many other reasons, doomed to fail.

Just consumes too much electricity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38196334)

The darn thing is written on Java. Thats a big no go for me.

Re:Just consumes too much electricity (0)

datavirtue (1104259) | more than 2 years ago | (#38196434)

you are stupid

Re:Just consumes too much electricity (1)

datavirtue (1104259) | more than 2 years ago | (#38196578)

whooosh

Dumb name (0)

datavirtue (1104259) | more than 2 years ago | (#38196422)

Another stupid name for an open source project. Getting really old.

Needs more work (2)

vadim_t (324782) | more than 2 years ago | (#38196448)

So, I tried the portal and searched for slashdot.

1. geek.net
2. slashdot tags
3. ostg.com
4. slashdot.org/favicon.ico ...
main page nowhere to be seen.

Second try, antirely different results:
1. microsoft.slashdot.org
2. slashdot.org ...

Seems very erratic so far. Then maybe it needs some time to stabilize a bit.

The reason people "Google" is... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38196454)

that it's fast. It's fast, and, for most users, it's entirely comprehensive. How many other solutions requiring downloaded programs, p2p sharing (let's get Grandpa to open up that firewall... he's so good with "the Internet"), and a willingness to accept that "the service just needs to mature" really catch on? (See also: Diaspora.) I understand the mindset that wants to avoid corporate entanglements, but I sincerely doubt you will ever overcome a user's desire to do as little as possible without significant incentives.

So, for those of us not in the EFF, or on Stallman's Christmas card list, what's the incentive?

I "YaCy'd" Facebook.. (1)

Severus Snape (2376318) | more than 2 years ago | (#38196486)

Didn't find Facebook and it confused poor chrome into thinking it's German. No Thanks.

Cannot find the binary download link? (1)

Wolfier (94144) | more than 2 years ago | (#38196500)

What about people who want to join but don't run their own compilers? You know, those people exist.

Re:Cannot find the binary download link? (1)

Wolfier (94144) | more than 2 years ago | (#38196530)

The platform-specific stuffs are there, but where's the .Jar?

False assumption. (1)

Anonymous Psychopath (18031) | more than 2 years ago | (#38196534)

"As is often the case in the early stages of a new technology, results are better on some topics than on others -- mainly computer-related issues."

Uh, no. Google became a search juggernaut because it provided better results. Otherwise there would be no motivation to switch from Yahoo. And, since this solves a problem most people don't care about, it's doomed.

OMG (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 2 years ago | (#38196634)

Oh my, Google is so dead. DEAD!

It'll be just like when Diaspora totally stomped Facebook!

How about taking on eBay next? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38196732)

With all the hate for eBay in the world, why hasn't an OSS replacement been done yet? I'm not saying it would be easy, but that it would be very well received.

In 1996 this was done ... (4, Informative)

hubertf (124995) | more than 2 years ago | (#38197016)

... by the Harvest Project, which installed several local data collectors, and which then added a search engine over all those collectors. The cache system added in between is still known today: Squid.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harvest_project [wikipedia.org]

  - Hubert

How long until the P2P aspects get a red flag? (1)

VTEngineer (1033634) | more than 2 years ago | (#38197112)

I imagine some corporate interest, perhaps do no evil Google, will come up with a copyright take down notice on the system. Add to that, but user derived content makes it vulnerable to special interests, like say, child porn advocates. This just sounds like a bad idea all the way round. Some kind of crowd sourced scoring would be needed to filter bad content. Not easy when the crowd grows to a million plus. Accurate, but unwieldy. I think I might wait for 2.0.

Doesnt run on HURD!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38197198)

I'll take a pass and wait until they come out with a HURD port!

I tried... (1)

godrik (1287354) | more than 2 years ago | (#38197244)

I installed the server on my machine and gave it a shot. I made very classical request such as the name of a couple universities, a couple famous website and made a few regular queries like "chocolate mousse recipe". None of the request actually pointed to something even remotely close to what I was looking for. I thought it might need some bootup time, so I tried again an hour later. It was not much better. Just much slower. I'll try again in a few day. But that does not look good...

On top of that it looks like there is no special ranking system, so I guess they take the order of reply or the number of occurences... most likely not good criteria...

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