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Société par actions simplifiée
Industry Web search engine
Founded Paris, France (February 16, 2013 (2013-02-16))
Founder Jean-Manuel Rozan
Éric Leandri
Patrick Constant
Headquarters Paris, Nice[1] (R&D), France
Website www.qwant.com

Qwant is a French company that was founded by security specialist Éric Leandri, investor Jean Manuel Rozan and search-engine expert Patrick Constant in 2011. It launched its eponymous web search engine in July 2013. It claims not to employ user tracking, and it doesn't personalize search results in order to avoid trapping users in a filter bubble.[2]

The website processes well over 10 million search requests per day and over 50 million individual users a month worldwide[3], spread over its three main entry points: the normal homepage, a 'lite' version and a 'Qwant Junior' portal for children that filters results.[4][5]

The company claims it makes money through commissions it receives when users visit websites like eBay and Tripadvisor from its search results.[4]

In March 2017, press articles suggest that Qwant search results are mainly based on Bing search results, except in France and Germany.[6] Qwant also confirmed the use of Bing advertising network.

Search engine[edit]

The search engine entered public beta in 16 February 2013, after two years of research and development.[7] The service initially launched on 16 February 2013, as a beta version, with a stable version released on 4 July 2013.[8] A new version was made available in April 2015.[9]

Qwant offers several ways to filter results to areas of interest:[10]

  • Web
  • News
  • Social
  • Images
  • Videos
  • Music (Beta)

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 default search engine.[13] Currently, Qwant has a web browser based on Firefox on the Apple App Store available for iOS.

With the first release on 21 July 2017, Brave web browser features Qwant as one of its default search engines.[14]


The company was cofounded in 2011 by Jean-Manuel Rozan, a financier, and Éric Leandri, a specialist in computer security. It employs between 25 and 50 people, spread over three French cities, including Paris and Ajaccio, Corsica.

From 2011 to 2014 Qwant acquired a total funding of 3.5 million, part of it a loan. It was aided in its operation by special tax breaks from the French Government. 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.[15][16] In 2016 the European Investment Bank invested €25 million.[17]


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 seems[who?] to take numerous technical precautions to limit third parties from gaining insight into users search queries. 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.

The website also states, in its privacy statement, that it resists French government surveillance:[18]

"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".


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.[19] 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.[20]

While respecting privacy, the terms of service state that these may be changed at any time:[21]

"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.[22]

In March 2017, news articles reported Qwant displays mainly search results from Bing, except in France and Germany, despite several commitments to be exclusively "made in France".[6]


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 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.[15]

The service has received public support from French investment banker and current President, Emmanuel Macron.[23]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ "Le moteur de recherche Qwant recrute à Nice".
  2. ^ "Data Privacy Policy - About Qwant". About Qwant. Retrieved 26 October 2017.
  3. ^ "Qwant.com Analytics - Market Share Stats & Traffic Ranking". www.similarweb.com.
  4. ^ a b "Google schendt misschien je privacy, maar overstappen is ook weer zo'n werk". nrc.nl. Retrieved 2017-01-17.
  5. ^ "Qwant Lite". Qwant Lite. Retrieved 2017-01-17.
  6. ^ a b Marc Rees (2017-03-13). "Les liens du moteur Qwant avec Microsoft Bing" (in French). Retrieved 2017-03-13.
  7. ^ "About". Qwant. Retrieved August 19, 2013.
  8. ^ "Qwant : le nouveau moteur de recherche français est officiellement lancé". Atlantico (in French). Retrieved August 19, 2013.
  9. ^ "Welcome to the new Qwant! – Blog Qwant". Blog Qwant. 17 April 2015. Retrieved 26 October 2017.
  10. ^ "Qwant : le nouveau moteur de recherche made in France fait de bons débuts". Atlantico (in French). Retrieved August 19, 2013.
  11. ^ ""Qwant Lite est spécifiquement adapté aux utilisateurs d'anciennes versions de navigateurs"". archives.nicematin.com.
  12. ^ "Qwant Boards". Qwant Boards. Retrieved 2017-01-17.
  13. ^ "Mozilla : une version de Firefox avec le moteur Qwant par défaut". 5 July 2016.
  14. ^ "Brave Browser Github page". Github. Retrieved 10 August 2017.
  15. ^ a b Scott, Mark. "Qwant Wants to Be Alternative to Google". Bits Blog. Retrieved 2017-01-17.
  16. ^ SE, Axel Springer. "Axel Springer Digital Ventures is participating in French startup Qwant.com". www.axelspringer.de. Retrieved 2017-01-17.
  17. ^ "France: EIB provides EUR 25 million for start-up Qwant: Innovative financing for a European search engine with strong growth potential". www.eib.org. Retrieved 2017-01-17.
  18. ^ "Qwant". Qwant. Retrieved 2017-01-17.
  19. ^ "Qwant : moteur de recherche ou simple agrégateur d'infos ?". Abondance (in French). Retrieved August 19, 2013.
  20. ^ "Qwant ?". Qwant. Retrieved August 19, 2013.
  21. ^ "Terms of Service | Qwant lite". Qwant Lite. Retrieved 2017-01-17.
  22. ^ "Qwant, le nouveau moteur de recherche français à l'assaut de Google, Bing et Yahoo ?! - Le Journal du Numérique". Le Journal du Numérique (in French). 2013-02-15. Retrieved 2017-01-17.
  23. ^ "Macron fait la pub du "Google français"". L'Obs. Retrieved November 11, 2017.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]