Interesting Search Ideas


that I hope to pursue some day

Feel free to take any of them, though. Can't copyright ideas after all. :p

Indexing the Web Using APIs

There are a lot of existing search engines that index themselves using APIs, including:

These websites are extremely limited in scope, though, as they're usually focused on the content of one site. My idea is to hyperscale this to a general search engine like Google. I can see an early prototype using a simple schema--title, description, link, upload date--for a relational database with full-text search and normalizing data from these APIs using some sort of plugin/interface system. This schema could then be expanded overtime (author, upvotes, reccomendations), allowing for more powerful search features.

I believe this approach to indexing the net has a lot of great approaches:

The main issues I can forsee with this idea are needing to pay for APIs and admitting that the majority of the web's content is centralized.

Graph-Based Search Powered by

This idea ties in a bit with the previous idea, but could still work well with traditional crawling.

Google and the other search engine giants created a few years back in order to make a push for structured data on the Web. Their vocabulary would be the basis of the schema for our graph-based search engine. Webpages would be converted (APIs, JSON-LD, OpenGraph) in order to match's vocabulary. They would then be ingested into our database as nodes and edges.

The important thing about is that its many schemas revolve heavily around relationships (articles have authors, for example). This can enable some powerful queries:

Another cool thing we can do since we already have all the data lying around is to show users a "normalized" view of the web, a la Tachyomi or mpv+youtube-dl. If you think about it, a tweet or Show HN post aren't all that different from one another, data-wise. They're both SocialMediaPostings with a number of UserLikes and Comments. Therefore, if they're both the same, why should we have to deal with the cognitive dissonance of multiple UIs? This would also make one's browsing experience faster since we wouldn't have to load JavaScript, trackers, ads or any other kinds of web bloat.

A neat side-effect of this would be that we could create a command-line tool for accessing normalized data on the web; think jc for the web or extruct on steroids.

The only downsides to this idea I see right now are that is at times vague in its documentation and concerns about graph database performance compared to that of relational databases due to personal lack of experience.

Reverse Image Metasearch

I use reverse image search pretty regularly (two to three times a week). I find it quite inconvienent that there isn't a good reverse search UI for mobile devices; most websites require you to enter your browser's "desktop mode" in order to the functionality to even appear. It's also hard to make a search on multiple engines at once; this is necessary for content like anime as sometimes an engine may be able to cover for another's gaps. A reverse image metasearch engine would solve both of these issues with one stone. If you're looking for engines to implement, the Search by Image extension is a good place to start.

I actually tried doing something like this a while back, but lost energy due to focusing too much on the backend of implementing engines and not enough on the frontend, along with using it as an opportunity to teach myselfPython asyncio, metaclasses, dataclasses, and unit testing all at the same time; I think that that may have been a bit too much for me. I certainly plan to come back to this idea some day, though, as it would genuinely be helpful to me.

The Ultimate Personal Search Engine

The metasearch engine to end all metasearch engines; a direct attack on Neeva. This engine would run entirely locally, and maintain an index in an SQLite file. You would net yourself the powerful metasearch functionality of searX, the Web 2.0 personalization of Neeva, and the locality of Finda. You'd have your browsing history, web search results, and GitHub stars all in one place and away from prying eyes.

Ranking by Functionality

This would be very similar to that of Marginalia, and would ideally be combined with other algorithms like PageRank and full-text search.

This algorithm would rank highly websites that:

The main conundrum would come from efficiently testing webpages for all of this functionality.