Mycelium Search

The Mycelium Search is under construction and doesn't work yet. Please check back soon and read more about the project below!

    What is going on here?

    Great question.

    This fungal search machine is very much like Google, or DuckDuckGo, or AskJeeves (remember him?)

    When you use a search engine like Google, you are searching the entire internet. Promoted links and advertisements clog up the page, and most of the search results are from big websites you've already heard of. If you look up a plant identification, you'll probably end up on Wikipedia. Searching for a movie and the search results will send you to IMDB. Looking for help with code? See you on Stack Overflow. Reddit. Facebook. Pinterest. You know how it goes.

    This fungal search engine is different. When you search here, you are specifically limiting your search to only those websites which you and your friends have collected over a careful digital lifetime of exploration.

    Just under the search bar on this page you can see there is a list of websites. When you use this search engine, only those sites are searched, instead of searching the entire internet. We call this carefully curated collection of websites spores.

    Now, here's the really good bit! All these spores are saved in a file called spores.json. You will notice that some of these spores are actually spores.json files themselves, such as and The first time you hit the search button, it will only show results from this page's spores. Hit the button again, and it will search all the other spores that it is connected to. Hit the button again, and the network will stretch out and out and out!

    Uh... how about a simpler explanation, please?

    When you search with Google, it's like going to the library and looking for a book. You're going to get lots and lots of results, but quantity is not always quality.

    This fungal search engine is like looking through your own bookshelf. Only those websites that you trust and enjoy are searched here. You can add or delete websites - which we call spores - using the tool above.

    Google is the mall, this search engine is downtown mom and pop stores.

    This search engine also allows you to add someone else's spores to your own collection. This is where it gets a bit complicated, but this is also the extremely powerful bit that makes this search engine a really fun tool. You can see that and are included in the spores on this page. If you find another list of spores out there on the internet, then you can add a link to that spores.json file to your spores. Then, their bookshelf of websites will always be connected to yours!

    How does this search engine work?

    You might not know it, but it is possible to narrow down a Google search to focus on only one website. You do this by adding "site:" to a search. "" will limit search results to Reddit pages. Typing in " OR" will show only results from those two websites.

    Say you wanted to search Neil Gaiman's blog, desperate for any new Sandman content. You could type into Google: sandman comic site:

    If searching Google is like going to the library, then the Mycelium Search is like looking through your own bookshelf, and the bookshelves of your friends. Google prioritizes popular and promoted websites, while fungal search prioritizes trust between friends and their specialized interests.

    What's with the mushroom theme?

    This whole project is based on fungal metaphors. We wanted a tool that dissolved boundaries and allowed for exploration into secret niches. Like fungal networks - known as mycelium - this search tool intimately connects informational nodes without any centralized accesss point.

    The internet that we use most of the day is a place of strict borders, account security, and algorithmically-controlled behaviors. We get enough of that kind of thing already. The age of the toadstool is here.

    How can I join the mycelial network?

    I'll let you know once it's working :^)

    What kinds of websites make good spores?

    Websites that work well:

    Websites that do not work well: Instagram.

    A good rule of thumb is to choose websites that are small, personal, and not usually found through a regular Google search. For example, if you look up "cool online games" on Google, you will almost certainly end up on CoolMathGames long before you find yourself scrolling through the endless wonder of Increpare.