YaCy is the latest search engine to hit the scene and will be doing battle with the likes of Google, Bing, Yahoo and other web search giants.Largely backed by open-source activists, YaCY hopes to put the search into the hands of users by giving out its indexing engine around the Internet for free. Anyone can download the YaCy engine and help the search engine get better and spread the number of queries.
The creators of the engine also hope that YaCy will be harder to censor than existing systems that route queries through centralized servers before delivering them to users. The YaCy search page opened up to the public on November 28 and currently has around 600 volunteers that share the load of queries and the tedious task of indexing information.YaCy (pronounced “Ya See”) is primarily supported by the Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) which runs advocacy campaigns on digital rights and tries to instill in people the need to manipulate their own digital destinies. FSFE said YaCy helps privacy by encrypting all queries and by allowing peer owners to build up and manage their own unique search profiles.
YaCy software is available for Windows, Linux and MacOS and users are encouraged to download the software and run it for themselves. The first version of YaCy has been used and improved on intranets for the FSFE and the Sciencenet search site.On its opening day, the YaCy demo page was just barely able to handle of the web queries coming its way. The odds of YaCy succeeding are unsure, as other search engines in the past have tried to come along and sit on Google’s throne. One of the most notable tries was by two former Google employees that built a search engine called Cuil. Cuil launched back in 2008 and had a hard time winning over users. The search engine eventually shut down in September, 2010.While Google sits on the top throne of the search engines, it is certainly not the only one in the royal family. Any search engine that hopes to win over users would also have to beat out Yahoo and Bing, a feat that certainly won’t be easy. While the idea of an open-source search engine is certainly interesting and admirable, users may not be willing to use a new search portal when they’re already so used to running with Google.