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Should Google share its index?

Dion Almaer points to an interesting article about search engine indices,  proposing they be shared across search engines.  The article is worth a read, but the points are:

  • bots use a tremendous amount of bandwidth across the internet
  • they all get the same pages; the value is in their algorithms
  • therefore, the capacity of the internet would be increased if a company were to make their index available for all search engines to use
  • Google has the largest index, therefore it might be best if they did the sharing

I think there are a couple of issues with this scenario, but the largest is that having the biggest index is a competitive advantage for Google–why would they give that up merely to free up internet bandwidth that isn’t costing Google a penny? Stephen O’Grady succinctly sums up this issue.

In addition, I’m sure that any search engine company that was basing their results on an index would want to have a hand in controlling the index; Dion later suggests a third party index, but I’m not sure where the impetus comes for that.

I think this idea falls under the “wouldn’t it be nice” category, but don’t see any way to get from here to there.  Good intellectual exercise, though.