LookSmart Goes Distributed

from the will-it-work? dept

Last month, when LookSmart first announced their plans to let people download a screensaver that would use their spare cycles to search on LookSmart’s behalf, I was skeptical. While I could understand people doing distributed projects for finding aliens or curing diseases, I wasn’t convinced that people would be interested in helping out a commercial search provider. Now that the system has launched, a few people have signed up and LookSmart has big plans for its distributed search engine. They see a time when they will be able to do real-time search, without any cost to themselves, by using the spare cycles of computers around the world. That seems like quite a stretch at this point – as I’m still not convinced people will sign up without some altruistic goal or some sort of prize on the line. Others point out potential problems – such as people hacking the client software to rate certain sites higher than others. The folks at Google point out the real issue of search isn’t searching out more sites – but in figuring out what’s really relevant, and which sites need to be checked more regularly than others.

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