CDNPAL Kickstarter Project Aims To Build Search Engine Using Facebook's Open Graph

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This week, we reported on a Kickstarter project called Gooey Search, which strives to be a "Google on steroids (with privacy). While poking around through Kickstarter, we noticed another search engine project in the works called CDNPAL, billed as "an American search alternative to Google."

"There are problems with PageRank and Rankdex in that pages linked to by high ranking websites may not be indicative of a positive reference to that linked page or document," the Kickstarter page says. "For instance, you can have a link from your high scoring website saying, I really hate x,y,z and that linked page will now inherit a higher rank from the page even though that was not the intention."

"The other problem is UGC or user generated content, where a website may have a high ranking score based on its popularity, but the authors are random people who arbitrarily join the website, and those people who have little or no history with the score instantly inherit the ranking mechanism," it continues. "Another stinging problem with the PageRank system is that false or misleading information can rise to the top of search results due to the purely automated nature of the sorting of World Wide Web content."

This is how they're putting it for those who don't understand the details of how search works:

So what we are really saying is that for the past 15 years the web has been largely dominated by Google's way of organizing what you search for. We have a new way of organizing the World Wide Web that we think will work better.

Here's a video from the guys behind the project, describing their efforts:

CDNPAL re-indexes web pages as Open Graph objects, which users can use in social graphs "in conjunction with your own social information or to use in any way from presentations to applications," the page explains.

"At this point, we have modified the crawler to only grab Open Graph information, or create it from document data, for later compilation," the page explains in an update. "The crawler also records network properties such as the location of the remote website server, and the contact information such as geo-location of the OG content by business address, or other location hints. By focusing only on what we want to achieve and leaving traditional search behind we have a greater chance at giving users something brand new."

Here's a flow chart diagramming the process:

CDNPAL flow chart

So far, the project has attracted 15 backers at $269. It has 9 days to go to hit its goal of $100,000. Money isn't all the project needs, however. They're also calling for developers to help write code.

"One of our large problems is the high cost of educated and or experienced Java programming labor in Southern California and the legal overhead of having employees and the paperwork," says CDNPAL. "So we have some programmers we work with out of the country, but ultimately we need people here that we can do status meetings with [us] every day. We are also Java programmers and need to make our team bigger."

I find it interesting that they're using the Open Graph as the basis for the search engine, while there is a fair amount of speculation (and possibly some evidence) that Facebook is working on search itself.

Do you think Facebook's Open Graph is a good approach to search?

Chris Crum
Chris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.

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