As the internet’s next-generation, Web 3 is expected to provide a solution to the issues of the current version of the World Wide Web.
And, due to the rise of blockchain technology, Web 3 can finally become a reality with decentralized solutions increasingly gaining ground against traditional internet services.
One of them is the concept of decentralized search, with the ambitious goal of challenging Google and democratizing how people find information on the internet.
The Problem With Google and Centralized Search Engines
Have you ever visited a website after a Google search just to later open Facebook and get hit by an ad from the same company?
It’s a common phenomenon that can even occur when you log out of all your social media accounts before using the search engine.
As the world’s leading search engine (and most visited platform), Google has provided tremendous value to its users throughout the years.
However, by tracking users and harvesting their data, the tech giant used its market-leading position to make record-profits every year, with the company’s advertising revenue accounting for nearly $135 billion in 2019.
As a result, unless you use multiple tools (e.g., a privacy-focused browser and an adblock app with anti-tracking capabilities), it’s nearly impossible to search the web privately via a centralized search engine like Google.
To address Google’s issues, alternative search engines like DuckDuckGo have appeared on the market to provide increased privacy to its users. However, while these solutions are becoming increasingly popular among consumers, they still operate on a centralized basis.
What Is a Decentralized Search Engine, and How Does it Work?
A decentralized search engine is a blockchain-based solution that aims to fix the issues of its centralized counterparts.
Instead of collecting data from people without their permission (or forcing them to give their approval to use the solution), a decentralized search engine maintains its users’ privacy.
As a result, searches can be kept private without the service provider tracking the user and transferring his data to third-party advertisers.
Also, by implementing the blockchain, decentralized search engines can provide a transparent, censorship-resistant experience for users with the ability of anyone to access the solution without any restrictions.
Furthermore, while decentralized search engines collect some data – which are mostly information that helps developers to improve performance (e.g., location, time of the search, language settings) –, this information is encrypted and held on the computers of community members (the miners or validators) who maintain the network.
Another great feature of decentralized search solutions is that they lack the middlemen, which means advertisers can get more value for their money.
Blockchain projects that connect advertisers and consumers often provide incentives for users to engage with businesses. For example, Brave’s users can earn Basic Attention Token (BAT) for allowing advertisers to show them ads while browsing the web.
And it seems decentralized search engines have been following Brave’s footsteps.
For example, the decentralized solution Presearch rewards its users for utilizing the search engine to find information on the web.
As part of an open-source, community-driven project, Presearch operates a transparent service where users can contribute additional data layers via community packages to achieve more accurate results on the platform.
Presearch also features an interesting concept that allows advertisers to stake PRE tokens to feature their ads in the search results without extra costs for certain keywords. Whether a business wins an ad auction is based on the amount of cryptocurrency it stakes.
It’s important to note, while Presearch is basically a blockchain rewards platform for searching the web, Dsearch is the decentralized search engine responsible for delivering the results for the users.