Some thoughts on Kagi search

Kagi, unrelated to the prior (and now defunct) shareware payment provider of the same name and domain, is a new search engine that has received a bit of attention over the past few weeks.

The company promises to respect the user’s privacy while still delivering a set of compelling features and high-quality, relevant, user-tunable search results. This sounds awesome, especially since other sites like Brave, DuckDuckGo, Ecosia and Startpage had their share of negative press over the last few years. SearX is a nice idea – but often does not deliver relevant results. So one could say the market is ripe for a new competitor.

Kagi offers two tiers of service: A free tier limited to 50 search queries per month and a paid 10$/month tier for unlimited queries.

The company is US-based but seemingly employs an international team of people worldwide via remote work.

Kagi’s landing page after logging in

The Good

First off, Kagi ticks all the right boxes for me. It integrates relevant additional data as well as quick access to archived copies of a site on This does not sound like much of a feature, but I do a lot of research and this saves me some clicks.

The ability to rate the relevance of certain domains is also absolutely stellar.

As for the quality of the search results, I have no complaints. The ability to use specific “lenses” to skew results to a certain set (i.e. programming related or PDFs) is great.

The Bad

There is no way to sugarcoat this: 10$/month for a search engine is too much of an ask. I’d happily pay 5$/month for a service like this.

However, even that would not work because Kagi uses Stripe and only accepts credit cards. No Google Pay, no Paypal, no nothing – only credit cards. This is a typical issue with US-based services that do not realize credit cards are not the primary payment method in the rest of the world.

Kagi states on Hackernews that they anticipate a low search volume for their regular users (citation/link missing). I heavily disagree here. When I am using a search engine, I do not send one query. I usually do some research by using one term, run some variations on that term and new search queries based on the information I have learned from previous results.

I use my search engine of choice more than 1.7 times a day, so the free tier of Kagi would be unusable for me. And if I cannot use the search engine, there is no way I will fully commit to switching to it.

Unfortunately, the long-term sustainability and growth of the service are murky topics and something that warrants further analysis in 2-3 years – assuming we will get any kind of published data from Kagi. Will the company be able to convert enough users into customers to be sustainable and/or profitable?

The company is US-based. For many, this might seem like a great selling point, however from a privacy perspective the US are a terrible haven. The fact that government can order the silent exfiltration of data via gag orders is worrisome. Kagi assures us they do not log or collect data – but the same was also true for many VPN providers that were logging in the past decade and handed over data to the feds. An independent audit of the infrastructure, configuration and software – similar to how Mullvad operates – would go a long way to verify the claims and build trust.

Lastly, Kagi has a worrying amount of products in the pipeline. Their Orion browser is in beta and they have already announced an e-mail service on their FAQ. On the one hand, it is a good strategy to branch out and offer many different products in various categories. On the other hand, you might be spreading yourself a little thin here, Kagi.

The Bottom Line

Despite me sounding pretty negative, I do like what Kagi offers. However, the price and available payment methods (and I am not alone in this) are a big turn-off right now. A price of 10$/month is just too high for me when Newsblur takes 36$/year (which comes down to 3$/month). If Kagi magically manages to knock the price down to 5-6$/month I’d immediately subscribe.

The free tier is virtually useless for me and acts as a nice gimmick to show off how Kagi works, what features are present and what kind of results you can expect.

Ironically, this is similar to the methods employed by the shareware processor Kagi (fully functional but limited to x uses). We will see if Kagi search will last as long as the company whose name and domain it is using – or whether the party will come to a sobering end much earlier.

And even if this bitter end should come to pass, I think that having a service like Kagi is important. It shows that an increasing number of users are growing sick of being the product. And Kagi might be able to more easily innovate/refine in a similar fashion as XenForo managed to one-up vBulletin back in the day.

If you want a simple, quotable takeaway from this post, then here you go: While I currently would not pay for Kagi, I highly recommend you try it out yourself. It is an elegant search engine that did not fail me on my queries yet.

Wuala Web Downloads

Wow, now that’s quite an update. Now you can download public files as well as password-protected files from the web. Share all your stuff with friends around the world in a safe, quick way. Great stuff that makes Wuala even better 🙂 .

Of course, that means you can download the API wrapper straight from the web as well and don’t have to mangle around with subversion anymore 😉 .

Stopping Sweetcron from breaking with too long posts

Okay, now this is really really bad, starting with MySQL 5 there is a strict mode. What does that mean? The strict mode will not silently swallow all your data and just cut off what’s left but throw an exception back at you when you try to insert more data than the field type allows.

Sweetcron is really vulnerable for this kind of problem. It always stopped fetching the feeds to complain about a single post. Now, while fixing the problem on the software side would be preferrable I opted for a simple configuration change on the server side this time.

All you really need to do is altering the my.ini line that activates the strict mode:


will either become




Simply restart the MySQL service afterwards and sweetcron should eat the posts without complaining (I don’t even want to think about the loss of data here, but who cares?).

WordPress 2.7

Gee, there I am, not updating my installation for ages and now I’m wandering the path of nightly-builds again.

WordPress 2.7 is amazing. The new interface not only looks great but also offers a lot: You can collapse your toolbar to save space, the auto-updater has been improved and now supports updating WordPress’ core as well.

Quite slick, can’t wait for the final 🙂 .

Lecker Links (delicious links)

You may have noticed that I don’t post that much stuff anymore – I think that’s fine as long as the posts do hold some kind of standard. Often I have something interesting but don’t find the pretext to write about it.

So, without further ado: You should keep an eye on my links (yeah, I neglect the new domain!), they contain a lot of cool tools and articles. The linklist gets it’s fair share of updates so you shouldn’t be bored 🙂 .

Wuala goes beta, Badges to celebrate

Along with the public beta of Wuala there’s also a new website.

Aside from the plethora of new information, a feature to install/launch Wuala straight from the browser and mucho polished bling, Caleido offers a few badges to advertise Wuala and link to your own shared files (very welcome indeed!)

Unfortunately all of those badges are… big. Many people (including myself) use the common 80×15 badges with the common layout icon on the left, text on the right.

That’s why I quickly threw together two small badges in the standard form-factor. Use them as you like 😉 .

Adobe Air for Linux

A test version of Adobe’s Air for Linux is available for public consumption now. Tweet-r as well as the Pownce client work fine, there are some visual problems with alpha channels, though.

It is great to see that Adobe does release a Linux version, this should help adoption of this technology a bit. Even better, of course, would be a simultanous release on all platforms.