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January 29, 2011 12:15 PM   Subscribe

YaCy is a p2p search engine. It is fully decentralized, so it's quite difficult to censor.
posted by - (17 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
You can try some sample searches on this web page, no install required. See also Gnutella (RIP, Gene). Centralization adds a lot of benefits to a search engine.
posted by Nelson at 12:24 PM on January 29, 2011


Interesting project, but I'm guessing that a decentralized Facebook would be something that would be more useful (to dissidents anyway) as well as being easier to implement.
posted by storybored at 12:43 PM on January 29, 2011


It will also be extremely easy to exploit by search engine optimizers, spammers and black hats. Not only will the source code be available for analyzing ranking factors and attack vectors, you will also lack a central body that can effectively deal with spam. Still very interesting, though. Thanks, Nelson.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 12:45 PM on January 29, 2011


And how are you going to find your friends on a decentralized Facebook? Decentralizing search is a good project to work on.
posted by polyhedron at 12:47 PM on January 29, 2011


storybored, Diaspora pretty much is a decentralized Facebook.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 12:47 PM on January 29, 2011


Diaspora is mostly unusable and unlikely to ever be. Appleseed is much further along and is actually being developed by people who know what they are doing. Diaspora was in the right place at the right time and they landed a lot of seed money but there is little evidence that the core developers have talent or are going to be able to attract talent.

That said, open source projects can often take a life of their own and people should work on what makes them happy. I'm glad to see people are continuing to work on open alternatives to the closed systems that dominate the Internet now.
posted by ChrisHartley at 1:12 PM on January 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


Requires installing a program to make it work? No thanks.
posted by Old'n'Busted at 3:31 PM on January 29, 2011


Old'n'Busted writes "Requires installing a program to make it work? No thanks."

Shouldn't be a serious problem if it gains traction; torrent clients will just include it the way web browsers include search bars.
posted by Mitheral at 3:42 PM on January 29, 2011


Requires installing a program to make it work? No thanks.

I think taking back collective ownership of our trains of thought (choo! choo!) might be worth a couple extra clicks. But maybe I'm being overdramatic.
posted by tapesonthefloor at 4:12 PM on January 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


The web provides an expanding domain of possibilities that society is only beginning to explore. To limit our internet experience because of it is to limit ourselves. HTTP is just a protocol that requires an installed program to work.
posted by polyhedron at 4:37 PM on January 29, 2011


Requires installing a program to make it work? No thanks.

Old'n'Busted, what does this even mean? To use any service, I have to install something on my computer. My torrent client is certainly installed.
posted by IAmBroom at 7:02 PM on January 29, 2011


This kind of search engine appeals to me, but it's hard to get a handle on exactly how much has been indexed. Until the quality of the hits is as good as or better than Google's, YaCy's other advantages are meaningless.
posted by Grimp0teuthis at 8:46 PM on January 29, 2011


yeah, you're always installing software to make stuff work. using gmail? you're installing a shitload of javascript, it's just that your web browser is configured to hide that from you. Even on this web page (he points out as he watches his words previewed in a box below the comment field) you're installing software to make the site work.

HTML is interpreted code, for that matter.
posted by lodurr at 9:10 PM on January 29, 2011


I don't think Diaspora's going to even get off the ground. Appleseed has been around a little while longer, but I think http://buddycloud.com/ looks rather promising -- and they are using standards that are already existing to do it. (Using XMPP, running on node.js, ftw.)

By the end of this year, someone will have pulled this off, and I hope it's open sourced so that 2012 will be the facebook clone spam apocalypse that we all deserve. Blipverts, anyone?
posted by Catblack at 12:24 AM on January 30, 2011


The web provides an expanding domain of possibilities that society is only beginning to explore. To limit our internet experience because of it is to limit ourselves. HTTP is just a protocol that requires an installed program to work.

You think that's air you're breathing now?
posted by Sutekh at 1:29 AM on January 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


Decentralized systems trade trusted third parties for untrusted third parties.

Under active attack, they fail pretty much immediately and permanently.
posted by effugas at 10:32 AM on January 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ugh, you would think that internet journalists would be techies. The referenced article quotes near-vapourware Unhosted's website and talks about the near-unused Bitcoin spec.
Until the quality of the hits is as good as or better than Google's, YaCy's other advantages are meaningless.
To you: one would assume that the main push of YaCy is for web users who either have risks searching for what they want, or cannot find what they want within censored search. So, to reiterate: meaningless, for you.



Anyway, this is a semi-neat project. Of course, grub (distributed crawling with a centralized hub, 2000) should probably be mentioned. And the fact that Google's model adds up to a sort of private distribution, and one wishes that the same level of efficiency could be attained elsewhere. And one wonders whether Freenet can escape its child-porn-and-criminals reputation now that people are mainly finding important stuff to do with anonymity.
posted by tmcw at 7:15 PM on January 30, 2011


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