Mynij - search faster, offline

What can Mynij become useful for?

Mynij is an experimental personal search engine implemented as a progressive web application. It can add fast indices to public web sites, provide focused results on specialised content such as education, complement product search engines with new business models and circumvent the growing censorship in public search engines.
  • Last Update:2021-02-22
  • Version:001
  • Language:en

Mynij is an experimental personal search engine implemented as a progressive web application. The goal of this experiment was to identify possible applications of a personal search engine as a replacement or complement to a web search engine such as Google.

Its implementation was sponsored by NLNet NGI, without which it would have never existed. It relies on flexsearch, an impressive full-text search engine implemented in Javascript, and on RenderJS framework.

You can try an alpha release on www.mynij.com (does not work with iOS or Safari).

You will have to first add a source to its index (ex. https://softinst126139.host.vifib.net/www.nexedi.com.xml) and follow instructions on the previous blog entry "Mynij Milestone 3: PWA Application Release".

Example of offline search with Mynij

For now, Mynij can handle multiple indices of about 100,000 entries each, directly inside a Web browser. It can also work offline. We believe that 1,000,000 entries per index is reachable within the next five years. However, we doubt that 100,000,000 entries will ever be reached in the next 10 years.

After playing with Mynij for some time, we could identify some potential use cases:

  1. add fast indices to public web sites;
  2. create specialised content indices (ex. index of all education materials of junior high school in France) where Google lacks precision or focus;
  3. create indices on topics that are potentially subject to censorship on Google (ex. "use of hydroxychloroquine in middle-east against COVID-19") or on Baidu (ex. "corruption of Chinese leaders");
  4. create alternate indices for commercial products (ex. bags) based on a business model (pay per index) which differs from Google Shopping (pay per click).

In general, Mynij offers an opportunity to complement Google (or Baidu) where Google (or Baidu) is weak.

Search without censorship

Internet censorship inside China is a well-known fact.

Internet censorship in western countries has become visible recently. Multiple events of content censorship have happened in 2020 on all major cloud platforms in the USA. In Europe, censorship of so-called "fake news" (which are not always fake) demonstrate that we are now facing a risk of groundless government censorship.

If one wants to understand the social process behind censorship in Europe, please read this article on Olivier Duhamel or watch this video of Karl Zero. For nearly 20 years, this information has been called "fake news" or "conspiracy" and banned from mainstream media.

Even though the freedom of expression enjoyed in western countries can not be compared to Internet censorship in China, we can no longer fully trust public search engines. There is a small risk nowadays that some searches in Google on certain topics will lead to no result.

Some people view censorship as mandatory to preserve democracies in the west (or public order in China). Others view it as necessary to fight against hate speech. Yet, censorship based on "hate speech" can be weaponized to censor true information based on groundless notifications on the Youtube platform.

There is always a risk that censorship prevents access to relevant information.

This is why Mynij could also be used as a tool to circumvent new forms of search engine censorship.