A vision to kick Google's ass
Thursday, August 23, 2007
Do take a look at the keynote talk by Jimmy Wales, the creator of Wikipedia, at the O'Reilly Open Source Conference. He talks about how he intends to "democratise" web search, so that one can create web search engines as easily as one can set up web servers today using the LAMP stack. He's an awesome speaker, with a fluency that clearly tells you he's spent a lot of time researching and thinking about what he's saying. One big problem I see with private players being the only big guys in search is that research gets hampered because of lack of access to the kind of data that Google or Microsoft have. If crawls of the web become open source, and so do user clickthrough logs (after suitable privacy preserving transformations), I would expect grad students and research teams to hugely benefit from such data. Good news for me!
I heart Jimmy Wales larger philosophy - I think there are rich enough parts of the world that can afford to provide public goods that can benefit everyone, including themselves. I have been thinking for a while now that the quality of a society is nothing but the quality of its public goods - these things are too important to be left to the governments alone to produce.
And while you're at it, you may also want to check out Steve Yegge's super funny talk on branding