What if the search-index was run by a non-profit? GOOG founders once supported that idea

Google's founders once thought that search was so important it should be non-profit. Maybe now's a good time to do that.
Written by Tom Foremski, Contributor on
The recent debate about News Corp. threatening to leave the Google index, and Google's problems in attempting to index out-of-print books are all related to its commercial status. What if the search index were held by a non-profit? A lot of those probelms would go away. It's interesting to note that Google's founders once believed that search should be non-profit. Take a look at page 39 "Inside Larry and Sergey's Brain" by Richard Brandt (referral link).

"it="" was="" very="" funny="" thing="" about="" larry,"="" recalls.="" "he="" adamant="" search="" engines="" not="" being="" owned="" by="" commercial="" entities.="" he="" said="" it="" should="" all="" be="" done="" nonprofit.="" i="" guess="" larry="" has="" changed="" his="" mind="" that.""="">

Brian Lent, now CEO at Medio Systems, came across the same thing when he met with the Google duo.

't="" want="" to="" commercialize="" it,="" was="" anxious="" become="" an="" entrepreneur.="" their="" mantra="" time="" more="" socialistic="" than="" entrepreneurial.="" "originally,="" 'don't="" be="" evil'="" go="" commercial,'"="" says="" lent."="">

When he was at Stanford University, Sergey Brin wrote a paper: "The Anatomy of a Large-Scale Hypertextual Web Search Engine."

I"="" he="" wrote."="">

Could this be a possible future outcome? Could a non-profit search engine "out Google Google?" I think it could.

If site owners blocked all commercial search with a robots.txt file but allowed a non-profit search engine, that would build a vendor-neutral index very quickly.

A non-profit search engine could support itself by licensing the index to various companies -- even Google, so that they can then apply their algorithms to rank the results according to their specialty.

After all, the value isn't in the index it's in how you present results from the index.

Maybe Google could gain everything if it were to spin-off its index into a non-profit? It would fulfill its founders' original ideals and Google could still be Google.

If the index were a commonly-owned resource, every site owner would be able to grant permission to different groups, to access its part of the index.

That's what's missing with the current system. You can either allow a search engine to index your site or not. You have no control over who can access your part of the Google or Bing index.

But if the index were held in common, newspaper publishers and others, would have more options and we could avoid search engine wars and problems with incomplete indexes.

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