Who are you?

We are a bunch of developers who believe that the future will be distributed, and that very big things can be achieved by lots of little people. In alphabetical order:

How is PeARS different from other distributed search engines like YaCy?

Well, apart from the fact that PeARS is still a very small experiment in comparison to organised projects like YaCy, there is also a difference in focus. The YaCy team is doing amazing work on getting the networking aspects of distributed search to work. That is, the challenge of making thousands and thousands of peers on a network queryable in an efficient fashion. PeARS is taking another approach: how can we make sure that we query as few peers, and process as few pages as possible? The PeARS team is also interested in the linguistic aspects of search. The tendency of the most successful search engines out there has been to gather as much data as possible and do as dumb linguistic processing as possible. If we were more focused in selecting the data we search, we could start being clever again in interpreting and disambiguating user queries, perform direct question answering or even summarising on-the-fly. In our mind, this requires some serious models of how language works and people convey meaning.

What about privacy?

PeARS fully respects people’s privacy. The part of your search history you make available to other people on the network is completely up to you. You can choose to just share your Wikipedia searches, or admit to your obsession for salted licorice. The files you share don’t have to be associated with you, they can be posted anonymously to any web-accessible location.

But I like being visible!

If you’re a social network fan, feel free to customise your pear with as much information as you like. That information will be visible to people who use your shared data in their search. Who knows, you might create a real community of people interested in a topic, and start sharing your best search tips with those people.

I like being visible and private at the same time!

No problem. Have one pear for your private persona, and one for your social networking. Choose which domains you share privately, and which publicly.