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YaCy: A Viable Competitor to Google?

Google has owned the search market (and several other aspects of the digital world) since it took the crown from Yahoo and others in the early 2000s.

The introduction of a new search platform called YaCy has given me pause for thought.

This platform possesses an angle to it that is very near / dear to my heart:  P2P networking.

The premise is this:  if everyone downloads a copy of the search platform, no single entity will be able to ‘dictate’ what the search results should be.  The logic is that the YaCy peers create individual search indexes and rankings, so that results better match what users are looking for over time. Each instance of the software contains a peer-to-peer network protocol to exchange search indexes with other YaCy search engines.

In English?  Search results will be left to the process of aggregating feedback from users as opposed to relying on a black box to guide us through the web.  While it could be messy, it could also be very ‘democratic’.

To be honest, I don’t know why everything isn’t based on P2P sharing, as there are incredible efficiencies coupled with unique redundancies, but maybe YaCy will impel other developers to force the hand related to movies, music and other forms of information and entertainment.

The project is supported by the Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) and is in beta mode now.  You can download your own copy of YaCy at this location:

I’ll be trying it out over the next few days and will post any thoughts about it when I have a moment.

Bill Wittur
Bottree Digital Services
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