Bro i am a big fan of taking risk trying and pursing what you think is right but here in Naija, like @shegsadeour government not democracy does not have the expertise either as advisers, or as decision makers to ban any international internet services in Nigeria so as to grow startups in Nigeria, which is main foundation of large startup growth e.g yandex, alibaba group, baidu.
If i was to advice if this kind of search engine has to work you have to be language specific apart from pidgin, those languages in Nigeria that is not part of the 3 major languages like ibibio, efik, ijaw that is what google is not offering.
I have a perfectly working version of what you’re talking about. Deployed it in 2014, and had it running for like 5 months. Had to shut down because of the amount of server space and speed required to keep it running.
Was spending like $199 monthly on server back then.
We are very aware about system resources, we would try to reduce loopholes like iterations that consume system resources, execute crawling and indexing at night/weekends and convert images into base64 etc.
So many don’t do it here. If we don’t have our own search engine, mail service provider and co forever because the US is too big for us what kind of tech eco-system will ours be? I don’t want to suggest before it will look like I am hating some Nigerian products.
I think China and Russia’s weird (to American Google) characters helped local competition perform better.
We’d have a better chance if we start with indexing content we produce: Entertainment (News, Music and Video), and perhaps something to do with Religion.
If on the other hand, you start with indexing stuff Google is great at… say academic papers, Hollywood movies, items in international markets… then, you’ll know that people in their search for value are hardly patriotic.
My point about democracy is that for example Buhari can’t just wake up one day and say “alright, Nigerians, Facebook and Twitter are banned”. It will not work. China is a communist country, the government controls everything and yes, good point about them also being far more technologically advanced. Russia is a fake democracy that’s more like a fascist nation. Putin controls everything. Turkey is also like Russia in the sense of a fake democracy. Obviously we still have our chronic corruption problems in Nigeria but there are some basic facets of democracy that still work here.
You can’t just ban Nigerians from websites that are part of everyday life of the vast majority of Nigerians (like Facebook and Google) and not expect blow back. And as you rightly pointed out, they don’t have the technical know how to foster a local clone anyway. So this in many ways is an extremely long shot even though it looks good on paper.
Goliath was 9 foot. Most of the other Israelite soldiers were 8 or 7 foot. Instead it was a 5 foot boy that defeated him. Stop listening to all the other 7 foot giants that are too chicken to do it and get it done.
I’m all in for taking risks and going against the odds, but that doesn’t mean you should keep your head in clouds.
A lot of what people are pointing out are just the realities of building something like this. They’re not targeted at discouraging you.
I for one believe building a product (especially online) just because you want to have a Nigerian version is a terrible way of going about reasoning your startup. This is not Agriculture, or Fabric making (people won’t have to pay import duties just to use your american competitors)
You need a niche, something unique to you, something only your company would be good at. Entrepreneurs can’t just keep saying - use my product cause its Nigerian - it might work for others but its much difficult to replicate online.
Like I pointed out. Nigerians use google heavily. Google didn’t achieve that status in a year, so even if you’re gonna build a clone, its gonna take a while and it’s gonna be expensive - both in resources and capital.
Now assuming you have viable MVP. You’d still have to maintain it. Lemme pause here first. I don’t want to get into resources expended in running a product like this.
You see you’re not the only one who has thought of doing something like this, but I’ve long realized that just cause I want something to succeed so badly doesn’t mean it will.
if you can find a way to make your product unique or add a feature even a company like Google will find difficult to replicate, then I’m sure you’ll get more positive reviews. Then you’ll understand why I said:
btw this is what I expect your enthusiast to do. All these “greatness, changing the world” talk isn’t going to cut it realistically.
Meditate on your idea and find what you can do to make it standout, then we can start talking about reasonable ways to approach building it.
For one you might consider crawling only Nigerian sites (i.e. sites with the .ng, or .com.ng extension) on the fly and not indexing everything on the web as google is doing. You might consider manually indexing certain popular sites or asking site owners to register with you or add a custom tag that allows your robot identify that it is a Nigerian site to be indexed. You might consider not going more than 2-3 levels deep when indexing. For a site like this: forget PHP. You might consider python (which is also slow) but has a great crawling library, but since you’re going to be doing it on the fly a lot you’ll probably need a compiled language like Golang, C, Java etc. You can then find ways to index popular searches.
My point is: Its not just about saying China has baidu, lets make a Nigerian version. How has that logic panned out for our numerous e-commerce startups.
To the enthusiasts: We cannot be living on extremes where we either too scared to do anything or we jump into everything without thinking it through.
They don’t understand the statement of the problem, that’s why most of them are seeing it that way.
We are not saying people should stop using google neither saying Buhari should ban Google but what we’re proposing is to have our own search engine, so as to be able to prioritize our local contents.
I’m very happy most of us here are Tech Person, so i will like to highlight some examples
We have 1000+ programming languages? Yes
Do they ban one from another? No
But every programming language has its own purpose? Yes
In summary, what am trying to bring out is that… Nigeria search engine doesn’t disturb or stop another search engine, except if C# is stopping Java and Xamarin is stopping Phonegap.
Guys, don’t be afraid, so far google people are human being and we have the same brain and they were not from heaven, so we can do it… Lets grow Nigeria…
Starting a business requires money, starting an online platform requires content, Growing it requires both, we understand these requirements and we want to give it a shot.
We are not Anti-Google, We are not Google rivals, do we even have the strength to think about it? we are not praying nor hoping that the Government should ban Google, we are just naij.com version of cnn.com.
Seems you read our minds, most people dont understand our stand.
We are confident that if we get the servers calm, the content right and the algorithm running smoothly WE WILL SCALE.
Setting the record straight.
Design, Code, Build and Deploy a search engine platform from scratch but strictly for Nigerian based websites/local contents.
The algorithm Google use for featuring results on SERP does not favour local content and the cost for Google Adword is not affordable for SME’s/Start-ups in Nigeria.
Aims & Objectives:
To have a platform that understand when I search “how to start a cassava farm” will give me business advices on Nigerian context and not from foreign websites.
Secondly will be affordable for small businesses, startups and ecommerce portals to advertise on.
Thirdly crawl and index local information like sports, news, events, entertainment history etc.
Significance of the Project:
a. We want to have a search engine with localised content
b. Give competitive edge during Search Engine Campaigns (currency disparity)
c. We are not building language versions, as most people pointed out because Google does not have proper functionality in our local languages, NO. Our core MVP’s are stated above, it’s only an additional feature as we progress.
We are positive it will scale.
First we will try to identify the number of registers domain names in Nigeria or for Nigeria.
We will strive to have at least 50% of these url crawled and indexed
We will schedule routing re-crawling and indexing every 7 days and possibly at night.
We will build 3 broad algorithms,
When we gain traction we will build more algorithms that will handle Ads and user campaign management.
We will crawl and index all websites in all major domains such as online newspapers, hosting companies, news portals, listings, Nairaland, vconnect and so on that have Nigerian addresses on them.
No doubts, our present nameless escapade requires massive content in the billions of bytes and we know it’s a huge task, but a journey of a thousand miles starts with a step, Facebook user experience in 2008 is not as rich as 5 years ago and not as rich as today.
Our target is to keep crawling, keep indexing and keep uploading content, my medical student friends in university days calls their MBBS 300Levels exams Mountainous Barrier But Surmountable.