YaCy: a Decentralized Approach to Search That Will Take on Google, Bing and Yahoo

The Internet is a storehouse of information and most of the information is accessed either through search or through content aggregators. Search forms an integral part of our online activity and it is too vital to be dominated and managed by one single entity. This was the ideology behind the  creation of YaCy, a decentralized search engine.


YaCy  is a  free  search engine that anyone can use to build a search portal for their intranet or to help search the public internet.  When contributing to the world-wide peer network, the scale of YaCy is limited only by the number of users in the world and can index billions of web pages. It is fully  decentralized, all users of the search engine network are equal, the network does not store user search requests and it is not possible for anyone to censor the content of the shared index. We want to achieve freedom of information through a free, distributed web search which is powered by the world’s users.

YaCy dreams of taking over Google and other search engines one day, and has a very simple operating model. Each peer on the decentralized YaCy network has its curated index. As it connects to the YaCy network, other peers on the network start receiving that index.

YaCy is free from any private influence or central control. This makes it very hard to censor. Currently, YaCy has 1.4 billion documents in its index, and this size is increasing every day, with more than 600 peer operators. Around  130,000 search queries are performed on YaCy per day, which will only increase with more users.

A better explanation of YaCy can be found in this video.

FSCONS: YaCy Demo from Michael Christen on Vimeo.

YaCy is perfect in an ideal world, but there is a lot more to be done here. Currently, only expert users can use YaCy, and its index runs the risk of getting a poisoned. However, the idea is a revolutionary one, and it will be good to see YaCy succeed.

Published by

Chinmoy Kanjilal

Chinmoy Kanjilal is a FOSS enthusiast and evangelist. He is passionate about Android. Security exploits turn him on and he loves to tinker with computer networks. You can connect with him on Twitter @ckandroid.