Findx – a privacy-by-default search engine. No logging. No tracking. Transparent algorithms. Hosted in Europe. Users like you help shape the results.

Bookmark: findx — keep searching, in private

Currently in beta.  I literally found out about this 15 minutes ago so I have not had time to really look it over.  Based in Denmark, Findex is an open source fork of Gigablast.  Hopefully they will improve on Gigablast’s algo.  Good news on the decentralized search front!

via Million Short – What haven’t you found?

This is a search engine that lets you  dig deeper into the search results.  It lets you exclude the top 100 to 1 million most popular search results, getting you into the deep meat of the web.  The Wikipedia page on Million Short is also of interest.

I really like this!  Note, they seem to be using their own crawler, this could get even more interesting in the future.

Source: by Hope Thanks!

 

This was also posted to
/en/search-engines.

 

The Europeans won’t come out and say it but the fact that Google, the dominant search engine in most of Europe, is controlled by Americans makes them nervous.  It should.

I’m repeating myself but it’s long past due for the EU to develop it’s own search engine.  A few years ago they were set to do that and then it just fizzled.  I also think small nations, the Baltic states come to mind, should at least have several directories or a small search engine, with their own index, covering their country, their language and on their soil.

This isn’t about nationalism, but it is important in the same way that a country having it’s own TV show, movie and news production is.  It has cultural, educational, informational and security implications.  Information, knowledge, controlling your own data, controlling your own search all of these things are power in the 21st Century.  We take these things for granted but they are very important.

And then I started thinking about this in the context of Brexit.  No matter what Brexit is going to happen and Britain is not going to be part of the EU.  Fortunately, the UK does have a search engine: Mojeek.com for global English language and Mojeek.co.uk which favors UK websites.  And it’s pretty darn good.  It is really something the British ought to get behind and start using, because it would be downright criminal to let it wither away.

Again this is not about nationalism, this is about having all your essential kit under your own roof.  Just my opinion.

 

This was also posted to
/en/search-engines.

 

Here is an interesting artifact from the Web 1.0 past.  A list of known search engines and directories.

See the List Search Engine List

  1. This is only a partial list.
  2. This does not list the thousands of niche, national, regional and local directories of that time.

Almost all these are gone.  If you want a glimpse at what web search was like in 2001 click the link.  A list from 1999 would be even better and more vibrant.  A lot of these search engines had no hope of surviving in 2001, but at least most of them had their own index.  Now we are down to 2: Google and poor second Bing, plus a couple of smaller engines with their own indexes.  And you don’t call that a monopoly?  You don’t call that a silo, and a dangerous one at that?

Look at that list – at least they were trying.

Mojeek is a crawler based search engine with its very own index of web pages, so we are not reliant on any other engine to produce our results

Like: Independent and Unbiased Search Results

See the last paragraph for more.  This is why search engines like Mojeek and Gigablast and even the directory Curlie.org are important – they have their own index.

I have been using Mojeek.com privacy search engine for about 3 weeks as my daily driver on all laptops.  Most of my initial thoughts have turned out to be right.

I used Mojeek just as hard as I did Qwant and all the other search engines.  There were many times where I was adjusting my search terminology to refine my results.  Unlike Qwant, I was never mistaken for a robot in the middle of important work and challenged to prove I was human.  Mojeek gave me what it had every time, no time outs, no challenges to my humanity.

Mojeek has an optional feature for Emotional Search.  I did not use this, and I really do not care about it.

The search engine has one of the most uncluttered SERP of any search engine: no ads, no trying to lure you to onsite portal features, no product placement, just straight up search results with appropriate Wikipedia articles linked to in the right hand column.

The Mojeek algorithm seems pretty darn good.  I do know that the algo uses both on-page and off-page (linking) factors for ranking which is exactly what you would expect for any modern crawling search engine.  Only Mojeek knows exactly how these are applied.

I do a lot of certain types of searches: Navigational searches and review, comparison type searches.  Navigational searches are where I know the site I want, but I’m unsure of the domain name: (eg: was it FOMOCO, Ford Motors, Ford Cars, ford.com?)  Review comparison searches (eg. “best free email client for Windows 10,” “best notes software for linux 2018”)

Navigational Searches:

On big brands Mojeek did fine, on more obscure sites Mojeek would fail.  I strongly suspect this is due to the size of the search index.  If the index was larger, it would have been there.  For the big brands, I was always surprised when I didn’t see what I wanted in the left organic results column, but if I glanced right, to the Wikipedia box, there was the link to the website at the top of the box, while the link to the Wikipedia article link was at the bottom.  It works just fine, I just wasn’t used to it.

Review Comparison Searches:

When I search Duckduckgo (DDG uses Bing results) I can almost predict the websites I will find on the first page of the SERPS.  DDG uses the same stable of trusted sites for these kind of searches most of the time with some others mixed in.  They are good, large, well established sites and I don’t blame them for using them.  With Mojeek I got relevant results, but from sites I never heard of before.  It’s like Mojeek was giving me the second tier, in terms of popularity, of software review sites, but some of these had reviews better written and in much more depth than DDG/Bing’s stable.  These were real gems.  It reinforced my assertion that the just because a page is popular does not make it the best.  Many times Mojeek surprised me like this.  It dug up some real treasure.

However, the size of the index does come into play.  Sometimes the topic is so obscure that Mojeek just didn’t have either very many results or not enough good results. This is when I would try to phrase my search a different way.  Mostly that didn’t work.

Long complex multi keyword searches often came up with very few results. Again this is just index size.  Mojeek understood the complex search, it just didn’t have much that fit all the keywords.

I would say about 70 percent of the time, in daily default use, Mojeek gave me something useful.  Sometimes it dug up gems that Google or Bing fed search engines would have buried on page 4 or more.  And it was because of those gems, that I really didn’t mind using Mojeek as my primary search engine.  If it failed I could easily run the same search on another engine for backup.  All said, this test with Mojeek was more fun than annoying.

Actually, the more I used Mojeek the more I came to respect it.  Working with only their own index and algo is like performing a high wire act without a net.  You don’t have that feed from Google or Bing as a safety net to back you up.  I kind of looked forward to seeing what it would bring up, but that is just me, YMMV.

Pros:

  • Bringing up good, relevant pages that Big engines ignore or bury.
  • Crisp, uncluttered SERP’s
  • Unbiased results.
  • Fast enough page loading.
  • Privacy respecting.

Cons:

  • Needs a larger index.

Would my conclusions be the same with the UK version Mojeek.co.uk?  I’ll never really know, as an American I welcome UK based sites in my SERP’s for information.  But only a UK resident can really test the UK version as a daily default search.  I wish some British person would do that for a few weeks and write up their conclusions, because I do think national search engines, owned and operated from within their own country, are very important.

Conclusions:

I liked Mojeek from the start, and I liked it more the more I used it.  I think the Mojeek team is on to something good.  I will probably be back at intervals using it as my default to test progress.  I truely hope that they can continue to expand the search index and remain independent.  I like that they have been privacy respecting from the start.  This is the most promising search engine with it’s own crawler and index that I have seen in a long time.

I don’t think most mainstream people will use Mojeek yet as their primary search engine but I do think, right now, it is a good second search engine, for when you are tired of seeing the same domains dominating your search results, you can pop over to Mojeek and find other voices.  I still wish I could code a parallel search form with DDG and Mojeek on it, I would use that every day and have the best of both worlds.

I’m going to start using Gigablast.com as my default daily search engine for the next 3 weeks or so.  Gigablast does not bill itself as a privacy search engine so I figure they are tracking some behavior.  However, they are not in the advertising business so I don’t think it matters too much for me.

Once again, I invite you to do the same with me and let me know what you think of Gigablast.  Just set Gigablast as your default search engine and use it first every time you search.

Searchking.com had two divisions: 1. A search engine, 2. remotely hosted web directories (think WordPress.com only for directories,) run by different individuals. This article will deal with the search engine alone.  The Searchking search engine I am going to talk about is not the Searchking directory that exists today even though it is using a similar concept in presentation.

This is all from memory having used it quite a lot.  I have no insider knowledge of how it worked or was administrated.

What was Searchking?

Searchking was a minor search engine born at a time when there were 7 – 8 major search engines, many dozens of minor search engines, and many hundreds of directories.  It would seem very crude by today’s standards, but back in 1997 it was on par with many of the majors and almost all the minors for search quality.  It was designed by Searchking CEO Bob Massa and coded by Sargeant Hatch.

The reality was SearchKing search engine was not really a search engine.  It had no crawler other than, maybe a meta tag grabber, my memory is a little cloudy on that.  It was, really a flat directory.  That is it had no hierarchy of categories.  All it searched was the Title, Description and Keywords submitted for each page.  I’m sure there was a rudimentary algo, for example, giving more weight to a keyword in the tile than in a description, but that was it.

How Did it Work?

For the person searching, it appeared to be a search engine.  There was just a searchbox.  When you searched, you got a SERP with 10 results on page one, ten more on page two.  When you clicked through to a site it was shown to you with a frame at either the top or bottom.  On the frame you could vote for the quality of the site.  You could also report spam or dismiss the frame.  The quality votes also effected ranking.  The reality was that very few searchers ever voted.  This means a key feature of the algo was rarely used.  The spam report was used a bit.  Mostly, people dismissed the frame as quickly as they could.

There was some human review.  I think Admins running the search engine kept a weather eye on the submissions and did some random checks.  They did act on reports.  But remember, the Web was wide open, wild frontier when this was built. Nobody knew what worked and what didn’t.  Even some of the major search engines like Infoseek mainly indexed only meta tags and maybe a little on page text for that one page.  Hardly a deep crawl.

Submitting your website to Searchking really meant submitting each page by hand, manually.  Again keep in mind, there were no CMS’s yet nor blog platforms in general use, so most websites were hand coded in HTML. Plus everyone was on dialup which was slow.  So websites tended to be 5 – 25 static pages.  Because of the slowness of dialup internet, we all tended to keep Titles, Descriptions and keywords short.  Search too was rudimentary everywhere.  Keyword searches were one or two words on all search engines.  In 1997 when Searchking search engine was built, it was built to work within the limitations of the day.

By year 2000, Searchking was starting to show it’s age, but it remain viable.  One feature the Searchking search engine had was instant listing.  When you added a page, it went live instantly.  This would play a key role in 2001.

By 2001, “Mighty” Yahoo was still the king of search, Google was rapidly gaining popularity for it’s deep spidering and better search results.  The other major search engines were falling behind rapidly or had disappeared.  In those days, it took Google about a month to start listing a new site that had been submitted too it.  Getting a new site to rank in Google was yet another matter, you might be listed, but you might be on page 20 of Google’s SERPs.  Also, Google was still just a web search engine, it was not a news search engine. News stories maybe got in and ranked faster but it still took a week or two before it would appear on Google.

9-11 and the need for Instant News and Information

Then the 9-11 terrorist attacks on the Twin Towers in New Your City occurred  on September 11, 2001.  Everyone was stunned.  Over on the Searchking directory hosting side, we had a forum community of directory owners.  I think we all spent most of the 11th glued to our televisions and radios, but we were also hitting all the news websites for updates.  We started sharing the URL’s to news stories on the forums.  Google had been caught flat footed, for days there was little useful or current information on it, which they acknowledged and tried to correct, but that was slow.

Over at Searchking, CEO Bob Massa told us in the forums that they were monitoring people desperately searching Searchking for any kind of information about the attacks, survivors and relief efforts.  Because Searchking could list new pages instantly, he asked us to help: to dig out and add the URL’s to news articles, new web pages of survivors, relief news, defense news, background news, to Searchking to help those looking for information.  And the SK community responded, we were searching for any news we could find ourselves anyway, TV and radio announcers were reading our makeshift URL’s of survivor lists, and we could jot down and share those too.  This was most important in those first couple of days after the attack, but people from the UK, Canada, the US, even a person in Greenland, cranked out listings of information for about 2 weeks straight. Eventually Google reprogrammed their crawlers and started catching up as did the mainstream media.  All the fancy high tech crawlers failed, but little low tech Searchking actually delivered.

It was probably Searchking search engine’s last best moment.

Why is this Important Today?

There are lessons to be learned from this example that would help make a new directory viable today.

  1. The idea of a flat directory, without drilling down through a hierarchy of categories fits in with the way people use search in 2018.  Make a directory, look and act like a search engine to the searcher.
  2. Even if you have a hierarchy you can hide it on another page so you don’t scare people off.  Just present the searchbox front and center to the user.  (Personally, I would still have a hierarchy of categories as “spider food” for Google, Bing and Yandex, but just make the searchbox so prominent users won’t ignore it.)
  3. One might combine a directory with one of the many available open source web search engine scripts  in some way and combine human reviewed results with crawler results.
  4. Instant listing after a human review is still fast.
  5. Don’t rely on user voting for rankings. People want their information in as few clicks as possible.
  6. Allow for longer Titles, Descriptions and Keywords.  You can better capture what a site is about that way.  We kept these short because of dialup slowness, but that isn’t a problem anymore.

 

Interested in the directory hosting side of the old SK?  I will have more on that in a later post.

 

This was also posted to
/en/linking.

 

 

Previously we discussed how to make your own blog search engine for free.  Why can’t you use those same instructions to make a niche search engine (ie. Star Trek, book reviews, recipes, tech, science fiction, fountain pens, Tolkien etc.)?  Well, you can.

  1. Follow the instructions in the link above.
  2. Pick out a bunch of good sites all in one niche.  You want sites about the topic with lots of content that are established.  It’s fun to mix some lesser known sites in with the mix.
  3. I don’t know if Duckduckgo has a limit on how many domains you can put in a site search so start with six domains, then test, and adjust up or down.
  4. Test you results.  You may have to swap out some domains if their stuff never appears in the results.
  5. Copy paste the final code on a page on your website. Label it.
  6. Tell your visitors about it. People will think you are cool.  You’ll get dates. You’ll get invites to dinner.  People will listen to you when you speak. Your cat will quit ignoring you.  😀

Yes I know I’m stating the obvious but somebody has to do it.  Do whats appropriate. If you have a, say, Star Trek site or blog, adding a little niche search gives a little extra value to your visitors and helps establish you as an authority on your topic.