"An emerging Web search project is out to keep Google, Yahoo and
MSN honest--and improve the process of finding useful,
noncommercial information on the Net.
"Called Nutch, the project is developing open-source software
for locating documents online. But unlike major search providers,
it won't cloak its formulas for matching relevant results to
visitors' queries. Rather, it will provide an open window into its
calculations, with links to explanations on how it determined each
result, according to lead architect Doug Cutting.
"'All of the existing search engines have secret methods for
deciding which documents are the best documents,' said Cutting,
whose resume includes research and development stints at Excite,
Grand Central and the Palo Alto Research Center. 'Search is
something that's a basic need for users of the Internet--it's a
valuable tool and yet it's controlled secretly, and that seems like
a bad setup. People have the right to know how their search engine
works so they can trust it...'"