Type of site
|Founder(s)||Jean-Manuel Rozan, Éric Léandri, Patrick Constant|
Qwant is a French search engine, launched in July 2013 and operated from Paris. It is one of the few EU-based search engines with its own indexing engine. It claims that it does not employ user tracking or personalize search results in order to avoid trapping users in a filter bubble. The search engine is available in 26 languages.
The website processes more than 10 million search requests per day and more than 50 million individual users a month worldwide, spread among its three main entry points: the normal homepage, a "light" version, and a "Qwant Junior" portal for children that filters results.
As of May 2021, Qwant is the 105th most visited website in France and the 1415th most visited website in the world.
The search engine entered public beta on 16 February 2013, after two years of research and development. The first stable version was released on 4 July 2013. A new version was made available in April 2015.
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.
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. Currently, Qwant has a web browser based on Firefox on the Apple App Store available for iOS.
In 2018, the French government decreed that all government searches be made using Qwant.
In June 2019, Qwant launched Qwant Maps, an open source mapping service that uses the OpenStreetMap database to deliver privacy respecting maps and routing. 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.
In March 2019, Google added Qwant to the Chrome default search list for French users.
Qwant launched a mapping service with data used from OpenStreetMap called Qwant Maps, on June, 2019. The search engine for the mapping is Mimirsbrunn, vector rendering by Kartotherian and the highlighting of map data by Idunn.
The eponymous company behind the Qwant 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 more than 160 people located in five French cities (Paris, Nice, Ajaccio, Rouen, and Epinal) and it has offices in Germany and Italy.
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. In 2016 the European Investment Bank invested €25 million.
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 to take numerous technical precautions to limit third parties from gaining insight into user 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:
- "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 might not really be a search engine, but simply a website aggregating results of other search engines such as Bing and Amazon, and that the "Qnowledge Graph" is based on Wikipedia. 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.
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. Microsoft said that Qwant "masters its technology, including its algorithm, its index and its client infrastructure, without collecting personal data, to better secure the respect for privacy of its users and the confidentiality of their searches".
While respecting privacy, the terms of service state that these may be changed at any time:
Qwant reserves the right to unilaterally modify these terms of service to adapt to the future developments of the site or its operation.
The early versions of Qwant copied many design cues from Google.
Several French newspapers and news sites discussed Qwant just after its beta launch in February 2013 and its final launch in July 2013.
- "Qwant.com - The new social search engine", en.kioskea.net
- "Qwant, le moteur de recherche à la française", france_info.fr (in French)
- "Qwant : un moteur de recherche français pour concurrencer Google", pcinpact.com (in French)
- "Qwant : moteur de recherche français à la sauce sociale", zdnet.fr (in French)
- "Qwant : moteur de recherche made in France", génération-nt.com (in French)
- "Qwant, le nouveau moteur de recherche français à l’assaut de Google, Bing et Yahoo ?!", lejournaldunumerique.com (in French)
- "Qwant.com, challenger de Google", le_nouvel_economiste.fr (in French)
- "Qwant, le moteur de recherche français, est lancé", futura-sciences.com (in French)
- "Qwant, un nouveau moteur de recherche français qui parcourt les réseaux sociaux", l'expansion.l'express.fr (in French)
- "À propos de Qwant". À propos de Qwant (in French). Retrieved 23 April 2020.
- "Qwant.com Analytics – Market Share Stats & Traffic Ranking". Similarweb.com.
- "Qwant Junior". Qwant Junior.
- "Qwant, derrière le masque du Google killer français". Lucien Théodore (in French). 16 February 2013. Retrieved 30 January 2019.
- "How Microsoft tools strengthen Qwant". Betterweb.qwant.com. 25 June 2019. Retrieved 17 July 2019.
- "qwant.com Traffic Statistics". SimilarWeb.com.
- "About". Qwant. Retrieved 19 August 2013.
- "Qwant : le nouveau moteur de recherche français est officiellement lancé". Atlantico (in French). Retrieved 19 August 2013.
- "Welcome to the new Qwant!". Blog Qwant. 17 April 2015. Retrieved 26 October 2017.
- "Qwant Lite est spécifiquement adapté aux utilisateurs d'anciennes versions de navigateurs". Archives.nicematin.com.
- "Qwant Boards". Qwant Boards. Retrieved 17 January 2017.
- "Mozilla : une version de Firefox avec le moteur Qwant par défaut". 5 July 2016.
- "Brave Browser Github page". Github.com. Retrieved 10 August 2017.
- Goujard, Clothilde (20 November 2018). "France is ditching Google to reclaim its online independence". Retrieved 12 October 2019 – via www.wired.co.uk.
- "Qwant Maps". Qwant Maps. Retrieved 12 October 2019.
- "Qwant Maps: open source Google Maps alternative launches - gHacks Tech News". Ghacks.net. Retrieved 17 July 2019.
- "Masq by Qwant : an opensource project for privacy preserving online services". Betterweb.qwant.com. 28 June 2019. Retrieved 17 July 2019.
- 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.
- "Qwant Maps: open source Google Maps alternative launches - gHacks Tech News". www.ghacks.net. Retrieved 21 March 2021.
- "Qwant Maps : opensource and privacy-preserving map". Betterweb - blog Qwant. 27 June 2019. Retrieved 21 March 2021.
- "Qwant's Press Kit (2019)" (PDF). About.qwant.com. Retrieved 17 July 2019.
- "Google schendt misschien je privacy, maar overstappen is ook weer zo'n werk". nrc.nl. Retrieved 17 January 2017.
- Scott, Mark. "Qwant Wants to Be Alternative to Google". Bits Blog. Retrieved 17 January 2017.
- Axel Springer SE. "Axel Springer Digital Ventures is participating in French startup Qwant.com". Axelspringer.de. Retrieved 17 January 2017.
- "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.
- "Fleksy – World fastest virtual keyboard, re-invented". www.fleksy.com. Retrieved 12 October 2019.
- "Qwant". Qwant. Retrieved 17 January 2017.
- "Datas, procès et paradis fiscaux : le délicat droit d'inventaire de Qwant". La Lettre A. 20 July 2020.
- "Qwant : moteur de recherche ou simple agrégateur d'infos ?". Abondance (in French). Retrieved 19 August 2013.
- "Qwant ?". Qwant. Retrieved 19 August 2013.
- "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.
- "Terms of Service | Qwant lite". Qwant Lite. Retrieved 17 January 2017.
- "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.
- "Macron fait la pub du "Google français"". L'Obs. Retrieved 11 November 2017.
Media related to Qwant at Wikimedia Commons