A discussion on the YouTube video Viva Frei Episode #30 between Viva Frei and Robert Barnes, regarding the topic of the recently filed antitrust lawsuit against Google, prompted the following dialog in the video’s comments, between myself (ThePythonicCow) and one other (Richard Lefaive).
This dialog prompted me to write down my grand vision for a fair and unbiased Internet search architecture.
Here is that dialog and vision, copied below.
Here’s how to reduce the monopolistic influence of Google (in addition to splitting YouTube back out, and perhaps splitting Android software out): Divide the search engine function horizontally, in the manner that the Internet divides out the “transport of data packets between entities”. Core search engine providers must sell their search results, in a manner that electricity or water is sold, to all comers. Such search engine providers could not sell the right to provide different results to different searchers, based on criteria established by some third party paying for it. Any browser or mobile or video service or other Web service or tool that wanted to sell advertising could do so, or that wanted to provide customized (perhaps to fit the preferences of those paying them) search results could do so, but they would have to use as the raw source of the search data they provided these independent search engine providers, who could not be “bought off” to bias or filter their results.
Richard Lefaive wrote:
Block chain to identify your personal data is a better solution. Barnes is correct on this. Use technology to solve technological problems.
Other distributed database technology, potentially yes, but NOT specifically blockchain… I’ve been a techno-geek, focused in parallel and distributed solutions, for over a half century. Developing and using technology to solve such problems “is in my blood.” However the specific technology of blockchain is inherently, by design and intent, profoundly too inefficient to solve the issue of providing and controlling access to all our data that’s in the cloud. Blockchains are about as well suited for this as airplanes are for inter-planetary space travel.
What makes the Internet such a stunning success is the layered separation of duties.
Moving data packets has become like providing potable water or electricity. The Internet (at its link, transport and session layers) has become a utility focused on economically and reliably providing data packet transmission for all, without bias. The wall sockets, water faucets, and Internet routers in Bill Gates house(s) provide the same electrical power, water, and data packets as in my far less grand abode, and more importantly, the companies providing these core utilities don’t care (have no financial interest in) which brand of light bulb, toilet, or laptop I use. The water pipes, and power lines, the backbone data cables and network routers, and the “last mile” coax under the streets, are all inherently infrastructure, like the “commons” of towns in past centuries. The people and businesses providing such infrastructure are reimbursed based on how well they provide these utilities to all, independently of what end use is made of them by any particular customer.
The indexing and cataloguing the open Web is being done under a very different economic model.
Google “gives away” the search results, and then charges (essentially takes bribes from) financially powerful third parties (neither those searched, nor those searching) in order to bias the search results (that is, in order to sell stuff and propaganda.) These third parties have an interest in what search results are provided to whom. They use their financial leverage to control which search results are sent where. This would be like having us get “free” electricity from Whirlpool or GE, and them in turn charging us more for electricity if we tried to power a Samsung refrigerator.
Make the “search engine division” of Google a separate commercial entity, that charges all comers the same for search results, and that takes no money from third party companies, governments or wealthy, in order to alter the search results provided to other customers.
This is both an economic problem as well as a technical problem. It’s also become a political problem. A thorny complex indeed.
Yes, an efficient, vastly expandable, properly distributed, database technology, which like blockchain has no central point of failure or control, is an essential part of this solution.
However “blockchain” is not that technology.
Blockchains are inherently too inefficient, by design and by many orders of magnitude. It’s not called a “proof of work” solution for no reason. Blockchains deliberately makes each update operation thousands, even millions of times slower and more computational intensive than necessary, in an effort to provide consistent decentralized updates. Hashgraph (hedera.com) comes much closer to being what we need for such distributed database technology.