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FreeWebSearch Day: Meet the Makers

Interviews with Viktor Lofgren & Simon Descarpentries

Free Web Search Day 29 September 2023. This day is an annual event promoting free, open and transparant internet search.

FreeWebSearch Day is held each year on September 29. It is a day for freedom of information and democracy. Everyone can join by organising or attending events or other actions.

The current state of internet search and discovery is in an abysmal state. FreeWebSearch Day promotes free and transparent alternatives. Luckily for the internet, there are people who work on these alternatives. Two of those are Viktor Lofgren, creator of Marginalia Search and Simon Descarpentries lead developer of We interviewed Viktor and Simon and published the recordings for FreeWebSearch Day.

Viktor’s Marginalia search engine takes you of the beaten track by letting you find small quality web pages. These pages barely surface in commercial search engines because they are snowed under by larger commercial websites and search engine marketing.

Simon’s lets you explore the news without middle man between news papers and your browser. The search engine in the form of a browser add-on helps you avoid the swamp of third-party trackers on most newspaper websites and news aggregators that give you little choice how to search and select.

Listen to the interviews

Listen to Viktor Lofgren

Listen to Simon Descarpentries

If you prefer text over audio you can read the edited transcripts of the interview with Simon and the interview with Viktor.

Viktor Lofgren: "Venture off the beaten track"

During the interview Viktor explains that search engines aren't only about bringing websites to people but also about bringing people to websites. Viktor: "To grow communities and fostering creative content it is critically important to have search engines and discovery mechanisms. Because if you can’t find something than it will not grow. A lot of stuff is out there but it is really struggling to find an audience because it's displaced by so much search engine marketing."

When we asked whether Viktor had any advice how ordinary people on the web can contribute to free web search, he answered: "I think by just participating in the web and not just consuming it. Try to look outside of the beaten path and big social media websites more actively. The more people venture outside of the biggest main stream websites the more stuff they will find. And the more people are finding this stuff the better these websites will get, and the more alternative paths away from this gigantic big tech websites will be build. By walking them."


Marginalia Search received funding under the project name Marginalia Search through the NGI0 Entrust fund. received funding through the Search and Discovery fund. The funds are established by with financial support from the European Commission's Next Generation Internet programme.

Do you also have an open source project that needs funding? You can apply for one of the theme funds of NLnet.

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