I thought to myself: What if I made a search engine combining some concepts of these two, but using the revenue for charities that users can vote on? Each month, they would be able to select a few charities where profits are donated to like cancer research, feeding the hungry, fighting climate change, etc. I named it YoFlux, and you can view this for early alpha testing at www.yoflux.com.
I decided I would need to use Google as the engine, rather than Bing, as I prefer their search results. How would I have a privacy focus? It turns out that Google does have an API I can use. If I didn’t store the search results locally, I would never have to worry about privacy nor a database backend. My search engine doesn’t store data at all. Once you search, it sends an API call to Google that says, “I want search results for this…” Then google responds, “okay, this is what I have.” I display what those results are, but not at any point in this process does Google know where the search is coming from, who is doing it, or any other factors other than it’s from my own “key” – a way they know who is asking for results for monitoring query loads.
This does have some downfalls:
- It doesn’t account for your location. Want to find the nearest bar? My search engine can’t help you as it doesn’t know where you are. Additionally, it doesn’t account for which country you live in, so results could be anywhere in the world and not a language you’re familiar with.
- No AI-based feeds. Google knows enough about you when you search that it tries to cater towards your interests. For example, if you’re a developer like me, I favor Stack Overflow verses other programming websites. Thus, I’m more likely to see those in Google than another programming site.
- I could implement tracking, but for the meantime I have it focus on search results within the US and in English only.
- Google’s API calls allows me to prioritize certain websites.
- For programming-related questions, Stack Overflow and Reddit will likely appear more than websites like MSDN (no offense Microsoft, but the formatting of your answers are terrible).
- News – I focused on the least biased websites according to both Republican and Democratic voters. I narrowed these down to NPR, BBC, and Associated Press. You will see others too, but these will have a higher priority setting.
- Shopping is currently focused on Amazon as I was planning to have an affiliation setup for additional income. Since no one was using this functionality, my affiliation expired and I have to renew.
The functionality it does support is quite useful, in my opinion, and I try to use it every day to see how I could improve it. Let’s do some tests:
Search term: Interstellar
IMDB didn’t have anything outside of the rating, unfortunately. However, this did tell me about one of my favorite films. You can see IMDB appears first, followed with a Wikipedia article both below and on the far-right side. One surprise I wasn’t expecting is the Voyager 2 news appearing! IMDB results used to display a lot more information earlier in the year, but I have to revisit what happened.
Scrolling down on the page shows an embedded YouTube video. I love this function. I don’t have to escape to Youtube to view it. Additionally, I have it set on a privacy filter so YouTube can’t track you.
Search term: Pork Muffin Recipe
I only searched this as a joke, not thinking a recipe would actually exist. Yet, I found a recipe. I made sure my search engine could display recipes if it was found in the Google API. It doesn’t work for all sites, but I’ll get it there.
Search term: Stranger things
This displays my Twitter integration. You can read Twitter feeds from within the website. On the far-right side you can see a Wikipedia summary of the TV show. Just above the Twitter feed is a link directly to it on Netflix.
You’re welcome to test YoFlux as you please and send me ideas and feedback. At this time, there are no ads. Since my Google API calls are free, they are limited to roughly 100 queries a day. If it stops working that means I used up my max queries for the day. Once I implement ads and get enough people using it, then I plan to open up for more queries.