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Is Open Source the future of search?

Last year, we informed you about the start of Nutch, an open source search engine project that tries to compete with the major players in the search engines market. What has happened since then? It's time to take a look if the efforts to build an open source search engine have led to results.

Which open source search engines are available?

The first search engine that uses the Nutch open source search engine index is MozDex. Although MozDex is still struggling with technical problems, its results are becoming better every week. According to, MozDex has become one of the 34,000 most popular web sites on the web.

Another search engine that uses the Nutch algorithm is ObjectSearch. ObjectSearch doesn't seem to be as sophisticated as MozDex but it is a start.

Now another project has entered the market for open search technology. The German SuMa project formed a group that tries to "build a decentral, cooperative and non-monopolistic search engine structure". SuMa is a brand-new project that hasn't released any results yet.

Why are open search engines important?

The search engine market consolidates and there are only a few major search engines that process the majority of searches. The Nutch project describes it as follows:

"Web search is a basic requirement for internet navigation, yet the number of web search engines is decreasing. Today's oligopoly could soon be a monopoly, with a single company controlling nearly all web search for its commercial gain. That would not be good for users of the internet.

Only open source search results can be fully trusted to be without bias. (Or at least their bias is public.)

All existing major search engines have proprietary ranking formulas, and will not explain why a given page ranks as it does.

Additionally, some search engines determine which sites to index based on payments, rather than on the merits of the sites themselves."

Further information about open source search engines can be found here:

What does this mean to your web site?

Open-source search engines are a promising option for the future. Until free search engines gain more market share, we have to deal with the current search engine situation.

Today, it's important to have good rankings in Google, Yahoo and other major search engines. If you want to improve the ranking of your web site in these major search engines, take a look at IBP.

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July 2004 search engine articles