Build an Alternative Google: How To Wanted

April 6, 2018

Hacker News presented an interesting question, “How would you build an internet scale web crawler?” We have been talking with companies which have developed Internet search systems that are not available for free Web search. Those conversations have produced some fascinating information. Some of the data will be included in my upcoming lecture for a government agency and then in my two presentations at the June 2018 Telestrategies ISS Conference in Prague.

What was interesting about this question was the few people responded. That is interesting because my team’s research for my new presentations on deanonymizing encrypted chat and deanonymizing digital currency transactions pivot on comprehensive Internet indexing. In fact, more companies are indexing the Internet content than at any time in the last 10 years.

The second issue the post triggered was a realization that only a handful of people jumped on the topic. This low response to the question in itself is interesting. With more activity in indexing, why aren’t more people helping out JustinGarrson? That’s a question worth thinking about.

Third, one of the responses to the Hacker News question was a pointer to the open source project. We once included this technology in our Internet Research for Law Enforcement training program. My recollection of the system is fuzzy, so I will get one of my team to take at look.

The final thought the Hacker News’ story triggered was, “Have people just accepted Bing, Google, Qwant, and a handful of metasearch systems as too dominant to challenge?” My view is that an opportunity exists to create a public facing Internet search and retrieval system. The reason? Outstanding alternatives to Bing, Google, and Qwant are available for those who qualify as customers and who are willing to pay the license fees.

My hunch is that just as enterprise search has coalesced around the open source Lucene/Solr technologies, free Web search has become “game over” because the ad supported model has won.

The problem, of course, is that a person looking for information usually does not realize that free Web search results are neither comprehensive, timely, or objective.

I hope individuals like JustinGarrison get the information needed to seize an opportunity in Internet search.

Stephen E Arnold, April 6, 2018


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