Search is going to change in March 2020 for Android users in the EU.  In March when you buy and setup a new Android phone, EU users will be presented with 4 choices for setting the default search engine on that phone. Google will be one choice and Google has agreed to auction off the other 3 slots (so they can cash in).  (I don’t know if this effects older Android phones that upgrade to a newer version of Android.)

EU country by EU country here are the auction winners.

All this is important, because a certain percentage of people will choose a search engine other than Google.  Also, once chosen, people rarely change the default search engine on their devices. This presents a huge chance for the alternative search engines to gain some recognition and market share within the EU.  This is a big deal.


  • DuckDuckGo won a spot in every country.  This is good, but can they keep users, because I’ve heard their search results can be weak in some non-English searches?  This is where DDG’s sole reliance on Bing for the bulk of their results might be a liability.  Can Bing and therefore DDG provide satisfactory results in all European languages?
  • (the old won in every country too.  Not a real good choice.  Kind of a waste of a slot and it shows the weakness of the auction model.
  • Qwant won in most major EU countries. This is good.  Qwant uses Bing for English language searches, but they have their own crawler and index for French, German, Italian and Spanish.  I hear their results in French are quite good so Qwant stands a chance of gaining users here.
  • PrivacyWall who are they and where did they come from?  I think they have their own index, which appears small.  They better crawl like crazy between now and March.
  • GMX is just a Google retread.
  • Regional search engines: Yandex (Russia) and Seznam (Czech Republic and Slovakia) are already dominant in their home languages so I expect they will pick up even more market share in this.

Of course Google is trying to subvert the intent of the EU regulators by making this an auction to the highest bidders.  It’s legal, but it proves the point that Android is open source in name only, a fiction, whereas it’s really totally under Google’s control.  Placement only for the highest bidders robs startups of badly needed operating and R&D funds and cripples charity based search engines from engaging in their charitable work.

Money should not be the only deciding factor.  Still this is a rear guard action on Google’s part.  The walls of Google’s search monopoly with Android have been breached and will this allow newer EU based search engines to come along?

My prediction is that both DuckDuckGo and Qwant will win some additional market share in Europe with this.  Both of those search engines have enough comprehensive features like Maps, Wikipedia etc to compete in the mobile market.  I think they can retain users who try them.  I don’t see that happening with, PrivacyWall or GMX, but maybe they will rise to the occasion, add features, and meet users long term expectations.

It appears new auctions will occur ever 3 to 4 months, it will be interesting to see how the lineups shift over time.

Of course none of this is available in the US, or most of the rest of the world.  In the US, Google retains it hold over Android and at the pace US trust regulators are working I don’t expect to see any significant opening up for a long time.

Get your popcorn out, this is going to be interesting.



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I want to take a deeper look at The Feed Directory at how it works and is it useful?

I am not going to spend time in this review on the free feed reader and paid blog hosting aspects of – you can discover them for yourself.

The Feed Directory is a logical compliment to the feed reader because it helps users find useful, interesting, quality RSS feeds that they can then subscribe to and read in the reader.  The logic being that if you want people to use your feed reader you need to make it easy for users to discover good feeds.  It works for that.  Keep in mind that a whole generation of web users have grown up never using a feed reader, RSS, directories, or even reading independent blogs, so is making it as easy as possible for these these folks to onboard and get started.  It’s a Good Thing.

A Look at the Feed Directory.

When you hit the directory index page you see a search box, some Featured Feeds and then a list of broad categories with feed examples in each.  So far it looks like a conventional, old school directory, where you can either search or drill down through the categories to find what you want.  But you would be wrong to assume that, the categories only list “featured feeds”, you cannot browse through all the listings in a category only those that have been featured by either an editor or followers of that feed.  This creates some confusion: old time directory users expect to be able to find all listings under a particular category and you don’t get that, also it makes the directory index appear to be smaller than it really is.

While confusing, this is not automatically a bad thing.  1. it provides a quick starter selection, 2. feeds that are exceptional get rewarded by human users for being exceptional.

It’s All About Search

The power user secret, behind The Feed Directory (TFD), is in using the search functionSearch gives you access to the entire index.  TFD spiders the actual content of each feed, this could be 5, 10 or more posts.  This makes it much more like the old time RSS search engines Technorati and IceRocket and less like old time directories (eg., Dmoz).  TFD’s spider also goes back and respiders each feed at set intervals to index the content of newer posts.  (As I write this, I don’t know if TFD keeps older posts that have dropped off the feed and if so how far back they go. Hopefully they do.)  It’s this spidering of content that sets TFD apart and makes it exciting.  This is much more powerful than conventional directory searches like  Bottom Line: use the search form!

Search Results

When you perform a search you get a SERP with a list of feed titles (blog titles) that, somewhere, contain your search term within the feed.  You don’t see a fragment of text containing your keyword like you do with Google, so you have to click through to see the whole feed.  Frankly this is probably good because you get a better idea of what the blogger writes about by seeing numerous posts so you can make a more informed decision before you subscribe.  Being so used to search engines like Google and Bing, one might find it a bit frustrating.

Bias Towards the Recent

By their very nature, feeds only show the most recent posts.  So just like RSS search engines of the past, TFD is going to have a bias towards more recent posts.  Yet it’s not trying to be a breaking news search engine.  One should just keep this in mind.

Openness of Search and Listings

It is to’s credit that they made TFD pretty open for everyone to use and to submit their feeds to. Or course they make it super easy to add a feed to your timeline (reader) but searchers who use a third party or self hosted reader can also use the search function to find good feeds and with a tad more work can add those feeds to a feed reader of their choice.  Win – win.

Part of that openness is allowing, anybody that registers for free, to submit their feeds – subject to editor review.  TFD does not only list blogs hosted by  It is not a closed ecosystem like Facebook and Twitter.

Providing a search API is another part of the openness.

Not a Search Engine

TFD, even in it’s early stages, is so slick you might start thinking of it as you would a search engine.  But it still is a directory even though it spiders content.

  1. Feeds submitted are subject to review by a human editor.
  2. The directory does not search the web for feeds.  TFD isn’t going to just find you, you have to add your feed URL.  This means if you want your blog’s feed to be included you need to submit it.
  3. The bias towards more recent posts (see above.)  It will not have the depth of a fully spidering web search engine.

None of the above are negatives.  In fact, human edited directories are a plus.


I’m on record for wanting a new Technorati or Icerocket RSS search engine.  TFD is a really good start.  It is not perfect but it is kind of a big deal, one would think the blogging community would be burning up the pixels talking about it.

I highly recommend all active bloggers should add their feeds, because someday this will be a great way to attract readers.  The index is rather small right now and it will only get better with  more feeds listed in it.   I also recommend people use the search function on The Feed Directory to find good blogs to read, wherever or however you read RSS feeds.  Heck, I may add it to Vivaldi browser as a search engine.

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Launched: Hyperlink Node Directory

This started out as a thinking out loud type post a few weeks ago.  At that time I couldn’t really think of a straight forward use for it but my instincts told me it could be useful or somebody would figure out a use for it eventually.  Anyway I spent the week before Christmas 2018 getting things set up.


Okay, a hyperlink node and “clump of links” are synonymous. If I call your link page a hyperlink node it suddenly sounds legit. 🙂

The Hyperlinks node directory is an index of individual collections of web links, by type.  Therefore it indexes: blogrolls and following pages, directories, search engines, linkblogs, link pages, niche directories, webrings and other significant collections.  Comments are enabled for each listing, if you have a thought on a listing, please share it.  These collections often map out odd little corners of the web.


Thinking on it some more, I think it has value for: 1. discovery, finding new sites and blogs to follow by seeing what other people have taken the time to link to, 2. eventually I think it might be useful for indexing communities, 3. establishing, at least one, central index of decentralized search and the hyperlinking guerrilla war against the search monopoly silos, 4. an aid to reestablishing “surfing the web”.  There may be more that I have not thought of.

The big utility for me is having a place to list these when I stumble across them, so they can be shared, rather than just bookmarking them (or worse forgetting to bookmark them).

Challenge #1: Build Your Own

My first challenge to you is build your own node: Easiest would be an old fashion link page or a blogroll/following page; or maybe a linkblog or a linkblog-directory hybrid; or even a directory.  Whatever you feel like, build it and show people websites you like.  Examples and ideas are in the directory.  You can do this.

Challenge #2: List It Here

You might already have a linkblog, link page or big blogroll, if so you can either add the URL to the directory or you can send me the URL via the contact form (hopefully it works) at the bottom of this post and I will review it for inclusion.  It dose not even have to be your own, if you run across something drop me the URL and I’ll look at it.

Or if you build something for Challenge 1, come back and list it.

The idea is to have a lot more of these all across the indieweb so web surfers can find human reviewed recommendations. Like Word of Mouth recommendations from people you trust.

I hope this is in some way useful.  Thanks!

Be sure to include the URL to your node in the form below:


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The difference between Google and Bing in this case is consistent with something I’ve noticed lately, which is that Google seems to be forgetting a lot of old stuff. Maybe it’s because the company is deprecating http in deference to https.

Source: Doc Searls: Google vs. Bing.

Okay there are a lot of “IF’s” in here.  IF this is really about depreciating http sites and IF this is permanent.  But…

  1. It directly effects the Indieweb.  One thing that running Indieseek has shown me is a lot of legacy Web 1.0 sites are still http and will likely never change.  Second: a lot of active blogs and other busy, creative Indieweb websites are still http.
  2. This makes it even harder for Indieweb sites to get traffic from Google.
  3. Google is once again warping the web for their own purposes.
  4. It shows that Google isn’t about quality, it’s about newness and popularity.
  5. It shows the need for decentralized search.

I think this validates what we’re doing here at Indieseek.  So remember, in case some mook at your favorite search engine flips a switch and shitcans all the Indieweb sites we’re here for you, we got your back.

When one search engine controls 90% of search change can happen that quick.  This may be a temporary blip, but the lesson holds: make sure you are listed in more than just one search engine.


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Like: Searching the Creative Internet

@davidcrawshaw we are here. is here to help.  Sure we’re not a high tech search engine but what could be more 1990’s than a web directory?  You call it the Creative Internet (good name BTW) and we call it the Independent Web but we’re talking about the same thing. Our mission is to try and index that “Creative Internet”.

And is not alone, There are other indexes, with similar goals.  Just so you know that a few people are thinking the same way and trying.

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Like: Scoping Out Basics of #IndieWeb Search

Sounds like a great project and very worthwhile.

I can understand opt in.  I’m a little leery if the requirement is to use h-cards for that because as we have seen half the time that does not work.  Also it eliminates people on their own domain who might not have the ability to modify.  Just thinking out loud.


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Joe Jenett created a site he calls the “linkport” which combines some of the best parts of a web directory and a linkblog: “directory linkblog” to give it a generic name.  I want to explain how this changes the directory building game and how you can make this Indieweb compatible.

So keep the Linkport (above) open in a tab and look at it as we go along.

The Directory Linkblog

  1. WordPress: The basis of this is a blog script.  WordPress is perfect because there are lots of plugins available to help you do it right.  For simplicity sake you want to dedicate this WP install to the directory.
  2. Search & Categories: Most old style linkblogs do not have a dedicated search or subject categories. These two things combined are what make the directory linkblog different and usable. You want to have your blog search dedicated to the linkblog.  You will want to find a plugin that enhances the WP search.  You want to have subject categories for every link.
  3. One link per post.

If you take a look at Joe’s Linkport you will see all these elements.  That is the beauty of it.  It combines the immediacy, newness and freshness of a linkblog with the categories and listings search of a directory script.  You have an RSS feed, plus you can syndicate to social networks.  And WordPress is a free script available with one click install from almost any hosting company.  Bang! The Walls of Jericho just tumbled down.  Almost anyone can start their own directory linkblog, be it, general, niche whatever and dirt cheap too.

This greatly aids everyone in building decentralized search.


This does not have quite all the features of a regular directory script.  There is no way for webmasters to submit a URL, although you could use a contact form.  You are also limited to one top layer of categories not a hierarchy.

Now Add Cowbell Indieweb

This makes it even more exciting:  add Indieweb goodness.

  • Use an Indieweb compatible theme.
  • Install the Indieweb plugins for WP and set them up.
  • This means that any time you list a new link you will be telling the blog listed that you have mentioned them.  This helps generate awareness of your directory linkblog and usage. Plus it expands the Indieweb.

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Last night I noticed a referral from search engine  Surprised I checked and we got listed!  Somebody from Wiby must have added which was darn nice of them.

If you haven’t heard of you really should try it out.  It’s a search engine mainly of websites coded in HTML and not about sites running on PHP platforms.  Which means it lists a bunch of cool sites.  I find it addictive and fun.

Wiby’s mission runs in the same general direction as Indieseek’s but not exactly parallel which is part of the fun.

Thank you for the listing!

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For context you should read my post about decentralized search.

If you are using self hosted WordPress you can have a small links directory running in no time.  This uses the “Links” feature in WordPress that was never removed, just papered over.

  1. Add the “Links Shortcode” plugin from WordPress.  What this plugin does is reactivate the Links function in WordPress and lets you display the links categories you add on any page using a short code.
  2. Once you create a page and place the short code any links you add will appear on that page.  Follow the instructions on the plugin site on how to place and configure the short code.
  3. Create categories and add links in your WP admin under “Links”

It’s really just that simple.  And it’s free.

You can use this to make a blogroll and/or a links directory.  IMHO every blog should have both even if the “directory” or links page is only 20 links to start it will grow over time. This lets people surf from site to site based upon your recommendation which is a powerful thing.

You can divide things up over several pages.  The link listings have the option of Ratings, Title, Description URL and more.


Tips and Advice:

Start out making this for you.  This is a great way to keep your permanent bookmarks and share them with visitors.

If your blog is about one topic (ie cooking, hunting) your little links directory should probably match your theme.  If your blog is about anything and everything save whatever you want.

My suggestion is to name your links page “Directory” in your navigation menu – we need to get people used to seeing that word.

You can use this for anything: links to sites you like, links to your friend’s site, links to causes or charities that are important to you, links to sites or pages you check all the time.

Consider this part of the guerrilla war against the Google search silo. If a thousand bloggers all do this it starts making a difference.  Maybe we will teach people how to surf the web again.

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