Now YaCy it!

by / Wednesday, 15 February 2012 / Published in Blog
Yacy logo

Google dominates the search market. Bing has made an impression and Yahoo still has a loyal following, but Google is king, especially in the West. However, a new search engine has just been launched, and it does things differently.

The new search engine is called YaCy (pronounced “Ya See”). Heavily backed by the Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE), an organisation that advocates digital rights and online freedom, YaCy aims to de-centralise search by using a ‘peer to peer’ approach.

It’s not just a website you visit; YaCy is a piece of software that you can choose to install to become part of the search network. By getting users to share their processing power to provide the service, there is no need for the central servers that power Google, Bing and the others. What this means in practice is that no single person or organisation chooses what gets listed. In theory YaCy could get past the online censorship that exists in countries like China, where information on subjects like human rights is regularly blocked.

“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 YaCy’s project leader, Michael Christen.

The success of YaCy depends greatly on how many people choose to support it by installing the software. At the moment the search is pretty limited due to how few people have installed the software and search response times can be slow.

It’s also notoriously difficult to claim even a small part of the overall search engine market. Only Microsoft has had any success, and they had to spend billions of dollars on Bing to gain just a small share from Google.

The innovative approach of YaCy does make it worth a look though, and there are many people who are going to support it. You can search YaCy at http://search.yacy.net and download the software to become part of the network at http://yacy.net/en.

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