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Qwant is a European[2] web search engine, launched in July 2013 and operated from Paris. It is the only EU-based search engine with its own indexing engine. It claims not to employ user tracking and doesn't personalize search results in order to avoid trapping users in a filter bubble.[3] It is available in 13 languages.

Qwant
Qwant new logo 2018.svg
Qwant v4.png
Search results on Qwant, as of May 2019
Type of site
Web search engine
Available inMultilingual
Headquarters
France
OwnerQwant SAS
Websitewww.qwant.com
Alexa rankIncrease1,929 (May 2019)[1]
CommercialNo
Registrationnone
LaunchedJuly 2013; 6 years ago (2013-07)
Current statusActive
Content license
Proprietary

The website processes well over 10 million search requests per day and over 50 million individual users a month worldwide,[4] spread over its three main entry points: the normal homepage, a "light" version and a "Qwant Junior" portal for children that filters results.

In the development phase, Qwant searches were powered by Bing[5] in addition to its own indexing capabilities.[6] Qwant also confirmed the use of Bing advertising network.

As of March 2019, Qwant is the 41st most visited website in France and the 879th most visited website in the world.[7]

Search engineEdit

The search engine entered public beta on 16 February 2013, after two years of research and development.[8] The first stable version was released on 4 July 2013.[9] A new version was made available in April 2015.[10]

In October 2015, Qwant released Qwant Lite, a lighter and faster version of Qwant.com, aimed at being user-friendly for those with older browsers and others that do not have powerful or resource-rich computers. Integrated features like video playback and JavaScript were removed and the on-site content was streamlined.[11] The design of this version mimics that of Google's minimalist interface.

The child-friendly version was developed in cooperation with the French Ministry of Education.

According to its founder, Qwant does not want to compete with Google but prefers "to show something different". Users can create a free account, which allows posting on the "boards", a feature with functions similar to those of a social bookmarking platform.[12]

Earlier stand-out features, such as a knowledge graph (called the Qnowledge Graph) based on Wikipedia, seem to have been discontinued.

In July 2016, Mozilla signed a deal with Qwant to allow them to distribute an officially sanctioned version of the Firefox web browser with Qwant as the default search engine.[13] Currently, Qwant has a web browser based on Firefox on the Apple App Store available for iOS.

When it was launched in 2017, the Brave web browser featured Qwant as one of its default search engines.[14]

The French government in 2018 decreed that all government searches be done using Qwant.[15]

In June 2019, Qwant launched Qwant Maps,[16] an open source mapping service that uses the OpenStreetMap database to deliver privacy respecting maps and routing[17]. It also unveiled Masq by Qwant, an open source technology that allows online services to offer personalized results from data securely stored on the user's device.[18]

In March 2019, Google added Qwant to the Chrome default search list for French users.[19]

CompanyEdit

The eponymous company behind the search engine was co-founded in February 2011 by Jean-Manuel Rozan, a financier; Éric Leandri, a specialist in computer security; and Patrick Constant, a search engine expert. It employs over 160 people, spread over five French cities (Paris, Nice, Ajaccio, Rouen, Epinal) and has offices in Germany and Italy.[20]

The company says that it makes money through commissions it receives when users visit advertised websites like eBay and Tripadvisor from its search results.[21]

From 2011 to 2014, Qwant acquired a total funding of 3.5 million, part of it as a loan. In 2014, it received additional funding, including a €6 million investment from Axel Springer Digital Ventures in return for a 20% stake in the company.[22][23] In 2016 the European Investment Bank invested €25 million.[24]

PrivacyEdit

By virtue of being based in Europe, users gain some protection due to stringent European privacy laws. Qwant offers protections based on the new General Data Protection Regulation, which took effect in May 2018.

Qwant's Privacy Policy states that "as a principle, Qwant does not collect data about its users when they search"[25]. It claims not to use any cookie nor any other tracking technology.

Qwant seems[who?] to take numerous technical precautions to limit third parties from gaining insight into users search queries.[citation needed] For example, image-search results are made by routing images through Qwant servers, so that the websites serving the images are not informed of the user's identity.

Qwant struck a deal with the like-minded, privacy-centric keyboard,[26] Fleksy, in 2018. Effectively, creating the most private search, available in any messenger application.

The website also states, in its privacy statement, that it resists French government surveillance:[27]

Regarding the French law on intelligence passed on 24 June 2015, we found that the recommendations of the CNIL had gained very little currency: as a search engine, we emphatically do not endorse the measures adopted, especially as they are particularly intrusive from the point of view of individual privacy. Accordingly, we will make every effort to ensure the protection of our users' personal data.

CriticismEdit

Shortly after the release, some observers expressed doubts about the nature of Qwant. According to them, Qwant may not really be a search engine but simply a website aggregating results of other search engines like Bing and Amazon, and that the "Qnowledge Graph" is based on Wikipedia.[28] The company has rejected the reports and asserts that they do have their own Web crawler and used other search engines in their primary developmental phase only for semantic indexing related purposes[29]. In June 2019, Qwant announced a partnership with Microsoft to power its own crawlers and algorithms using the Microsoft Azure cloud services while preserving the user's privacy[6]. Microsoft said that Qwant "masters its technology, including its algorithm, its index and its client infrastructure, without collecing personal data, to better secure the respect for privacy its users and the confidentiality of their searches"[30].

While respecting privacy, the terms of service state that these may be changed at any time:[31]

Qwant reserves the right to unilaterally modify these terms of service to adapt to the future developments of the site and/or its operation.

The early versions of Qwant copied many design cues from Google.[32]

ReceptionEdit

The New York Times drew a comparison to Quaero, an earlier attempt to create a European search engine to rival Google, which shut down in 2013 after investments of over €250 million.[22]

Several French newspapers and news sites talked about Qwant just after its beta launch in February 2013 and its final launch in July 2013.

The service has received public support from French investment banker and current President, Emmanuel Macron.[33]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Alexa - Qwant Competitive Analysis, Marketing Mix and Traffic". Alexa.com.
  2. ^ "About Qwant". About Qwant. Retrieved 4 September 2019.
  3. ^ "Data Privacy Policy". About Qwant. Retrieved 26 October 2017.
  4. ^ "Qwant.com Analytics – Market Share Stats & Traffic Ranking". Similarweb.com.
  5. ^ "Qwant, derrière le masque du Google killer français". Lucien Théodore (in French). 16 February 2013. Retrieved 30 January 2019.
  6. ^ a b "How Microsoft tools strengthen Qwant". Betterweb.qwant.com. 25 June 2019. Retrieved 17 July 2019.
  7. ^ "qwant.com Traffic Statistics". SimilarWeb.com.
  8. ^ "About". Qwant. Retrieved 19 August 2013.
  9. ^ "Qwant : le nouveau moteur de recherche français est officiellement lancé". Atlantico (in French). Retrieved 19 August 2013.
  10. ^ "Welcome to the new Qwant!". Blog Qwant. 17 April 2015. Retrieved 26 October 2017.
  11. ^ "Qwant Lite est spécifiquement adapté aux utilisateurs d'anciennes versions de navigateurs". Archives.nicematin.com.
  12. ^ "Qwant Boards". Qwant Boards. Retrieved 17 January 2017.
  13. ^ "Mozilla : une version de Firefox avec le moteur Qwant par défaut". 5 July 2016.
  14. ^ "Brave Browser Github page". Github.com. Retrieved 10 August 2017.
  15. ^ Goujard, Clothilde (20 November 2018). "France is ditching Google to reclaim its online independence". Retrieved 12 October 2019 – via www.wired.co.uk.
  16. ^ "Qwant Maps". Qwant Maps. Retrieved 12 October 2019.
  17. ^ "Qwant Maps: open source Google Maps alternative launches - gHacks Tech News". Ghacks.net. Retrieved 17 July 2019.
  18. ^ "Masq by Qwant : an opensource project for privacy preserving online services". Betterweb.qwant.com. 28 June 2019. Retrieved 17 July 2019.
  19. ^ Lomas, Natasha. "Google has quietly added DuckDuckGo as a search engine option for Chrome users in ~60 markets". TechCrunch. Retrieved 18 September 2019. Another pro-privacy search rivals, French search engine Qwant, has also been added as a new option — though only in its home market, France.
  20. ^ "Qwant's Press Kit (2019)" (PDF). About.qwant.com. Retrieved 17 July 2019.
  21. ^ "Google schendt misschien je privacy, maar overstappen is ook weer zo'n werk". nrc.nl. Retrieved 17 January 2017.
  22. ^ a b Scott, Mark. "Qwant Wants to Be Alternative to Google". Bits Blog. Retrieved 17 January 2017.
  23. ^ Axel Springer SE. "Axel Springer Digital Ventures is participating in French startup Qwant.com". Axelspringer.de. Retrieved 17 January 2017.
  24. ^ "France: EIB provides EUR 25 million for start-up Qwant: Innovative financing for a European search engine with strong growth potential". Eib.org. Retrieved 17 January 2017.
  25. ^ "Data Privacy Policy". About Qwant. Retrieved 17 July 2019.
  26. ^ "Fleksy – World fastest virtual keyboard, re-invented". www.fleksy.com. Retrieved 12 October 2019.
  27. ^ "Qwant". Qwant. Retrieved 17 January 2017.
  28. ^ "Qwant : moteur de recherche ou simple agrégateur d'infos ?". Abondance (in French). Retrieved 19 August 2013.
  29. ^ "Qwant ?". Qwant. Retrieved 19 August 2013.
  30. ^ "Qwant et Microsoft annoncent un partenariat exclusif pour une expérience de recherche sur Internet inédite". News Centre (in French). 17 May 2019. Retrieved 17 July 2019.
  31. ^ "Terms of Service | Qwant lite". Qwant Lite. Retrieved 17 January 2017.
  32. ^ "Qwant, le nouveau moteur de recherche français à l'assaut de Google, Bing et Yahoo ?!". Le Journal du Numérique (in French). 15 February 2013. Retrieved 17 January 2017.
  33. ^ "Macron fait la pub du "Google français"". L'Obs. Retrieved 11 November 2017.

External linksEdit

  Media related to Qwant at Wikimedia Commons