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Type of site
Metasearch engine
Available inMultilingual
OwnerJean-Manuel Rozan, Éric Léandri, Patrick Constant, Caisse des dépôts et consignations (20 %)
Groupe Axel Springer (20 %)
Founder(s)Jean-Manuel Rozan, Éric Léandri, Patrick Constant
URLwww.qwant.com Edit this at Wikidata
LaunchedJuly 2013; 9 years ago (2013-07)
Current statusActive
Content license
Availability of Qwant by country as of December 2020:
  Currently available
  Previously available
  Never made available

Qwant (French pronunciation: ​[kwɑ̃t]) is a French[1] meta search engine, launched in February 2013 and operated from Paris. It is one of the few EU-based meta-search engines. It claims that it does not employ user tracking or personalize search results in order to avoid trapping users in a filter bubble.[2] However, Qwant has used Bing since its beginning, and Bing Ads since mid-2016 without any notice on its results pages. Doing this, it sends data to Bing and Bing Ads companies, such as the user's IP/24, browser's User-agent, and search keywords. The meta-search engine is available in 26 languages thanks to external APIs[1][3]

Qwant spread among its three main entry points: the normal homepage, a "light" version, and a "Qwant Junior"[4] portal for children that filters results.

in 2022, Qwant searches are mostly powered by Bing[5][6] in addition to its own indexing capabilities since 2019.[7] Qwant also confirmed the use of Bing advertising network.[8]

As of May 2021, Qwant is the 105th most visited website in France and the 1415th most visited website in the world.[9]

Meta-Search engine[edit]

The meta-search engine entered public beta on 16 February 2013, after two years of research and development.[10] The first stable version was released on 4 July 2013.[11] A new version was made available in April 2015.[12]

In October 2015, Qwant released Qwant Lite, a lighter and faster version of Qwant.com that is aimed at being user-friendly for those with older browsers and others who do not have powerful or resource-rich computers. Integrated features such as video playback and JavaScript were removed and the on-site content was streamlined.[13] 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.[14]

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.[15] Qwant has a web browser based on Firefox on the Apple App Store available for iOS.[16]

When it was launched in 2017, the Brave web browser featured Qwant as one of its default search engines.[17]

In 2018, the French government decreed that all government searches be made using Qwant.[18]

In June 2019, Qwant launched Qwant Maps,[19] an open source mapping service that uses the OpenStreetMap database to deliver privacy respecting maps and routing.[20] 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.[21]

In March 2019, Google added Qwant to the Chrome default search list for French users.[22]

in March 2022, Qwant filters Russian media websites from its search results.[23]


Qwant launched a mapping service with data used from OpenStreetMap called Qwant Maps, on June, 2019.[24][25] The search engine for the mapping is Mimirsbrunn, vector rendering by Kartotherian and the highlighting of map data by Idunn.[25]


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.[26]

The company states that it makes money through commissions it receives when users visit advertised websites, such as eBay and Tripadvisor, from its search results.[27]

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.[28][29] In 2016 the European Investment Bank invested €25 million.[30]

In 2021, Qwant took an 8 million Euro loan from Huawei. In 2024, the Chinese creditor could opt to take Qwant shares in lieu of payment for the loan amount.[31]


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.[32]

Qwant's Privacy Policy states that "as a principle, Qwant does not collect data about its users when they search". It claims not to use any cookie nor any other tracking technology.[33]

Qwant seems to take numerous technical precautions to limit third parties from gaining insight into user 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.

In 2018 Qwant struck a deal with the privacy-centric on-screen keyboard provider[34] Fleksy, in an attempt to create the most private search in any messenger application.[citation needed]

The website also states, in its privacy statement, that it resists French government surveillance:[35]

"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,[36] and that the "Qnowledge Graph" is based on Wikipedia.[37] 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.[38]

In June 2019, Qwant announced a partnership with Microsoft to use the Microsoft Azure cloud services to power its own crawlers and algorithms, while preserving the user's privacy.[8] 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".[39]

While respecting privacy, the terms of service state that these may be changed at any time:[40]

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.[41]

From 2013 to 2019, Qwant was using Bing APIs for Web and Image searches domains.

Nevertheless, Qwant never respected Bing APIs rules [42] so that users don't know.

In 2019, an audit of the DINUM [43] was made and revealed that Qwant do have an index but is not used in production.[44] Also,

  • a difficulty to scale, notably in terms of numbers of pages treated
  • a difficulty to manage a frequent refresh of already seen web pages to capture updates
  • impossibility to use the index in real-time for users searches in production


The New York Times drew a comparison of Qwant to Quaero, an earlier attempt to create a European search engine to rival Google that shut down in 2013 after investments of more than €250 million.[28]

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

The service received public support from Emmanuel Macron, then Minister of the Economy and Finance and the future President of France.[45]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "À propos de Qwant". À propos de Qwant (in French). Retrieved 23 April 2020.
  2. ^ "Data Privacy Policy". About Qwant. Retrieved 26 October 2017.
  3. ^ "About Qwant".{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  4. ^ "Qwant Junior". Qwant Junior.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  5. ^ "Qwant, derrière le masque du Google killer français". Lucien Théodore (in French). 16 February 2013. Retrieved 30 January 2019.
  6. ^ "Qwant, behind the mask of the french google killer". Lucien Théodore (in French). 16 February 2013. Retrieved 23 August 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  7. ^ "The Search Engine Space Is Set for a Third Wave – Jump Start Magazine". 29 June 2020. Retrieved 18 July 2021.
  8. ^ a b "How Microsoft tools strengthen Qwant". Betterweb.qwant.com. 25 June 2019. Retrieved 17 July 2019.
  9. ^ "qwant.com Traffic Statistics". SimilarWeb.com.
  10. ^ "About". Qwant. Retrieved 19 August 2013.
  11. ^ "Qwant : le nouveau moteur de recherche français est officiellement lancé". Atlantico (in French). Retrieved 19 August 2013.
  12. ^ "Welcome to the new Qwant!". Blog Qwant. 17 April 2015. Retrieved 26 October 2017.
  13. ^ "Qwant Lite est spécifiquement adapté aux utilisateurs d'anciennes versions de navigateurs". Archives.nicematin.com. 5 October 2015.
  14. ^ "Qwant Boards". Qwant Boards. Retrieved 17 January 2017.
  15. ^ "Mozilla: a version of Firefox with the Qwant engine by default". 5 July 2016.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  16. ^ "‎Qwant in the Apple App Store". App Store. Retrieved 22 November 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  17. ^ "Brave Browser Github page". Github.com. Retrieved 10 August 2017.
  18. ^ Goujard, Clothilde (20 November 2018). "France is ditching Google to reclaim its online independence". Wired UK. Retrieved 12 October 2019 – via wired.co.uk.
  19. ^ "Qwant Maps". Qwant Maps. Retrieved 12 October 2019.
  20. ^ "Qwant Maps: open source Google Maps alternative launches – gHacks Tech News". Ghacks.net. 29 June 2019. Retrieved 17 July 2019.
  21. ^ "Masq by Qwant : an opensource project for privacy preserving online services". Betterweb.qwant.com. 28 June 2019. Retrieved 17 July 2019.
  22. ^ 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.
  23. ^ Qwant. "#UkraineRussiaWar". Retrieved 10 March 2022 – via Twitter.
  24. ^ "Qwant Maps: open source Google Maps alternative launches – gHacks Tech News". ghacks.net. 29 June 2019. Retrieved 21 March 2021.
  25. ^ a b "Qwant Maps : opensource and privacy-preserving map". Betterweb – blog Qwant. 27 June 2019. Retrieved 21 March 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  26. ^ "Qwant's Press Kit (2019)" (PDF). About.qwant.com. Retrieved 17 July 2019.
  27. ^ "Google schendt misschien je privacy, maar overstappen is ook weer zo'n werk". nrc.nl. Retrieved 17 January 2017.
  28. ^ a b Scott, Mark. "Qwant Wants to Be Alternative to Google". Bits Blog. Retrieved 17 January 2017.
  29. ^ Axel Springer SE. "Axel Springer Digital Ventures is participating in French startup Qwant.com". Axelspringer.de. Retrieved 17 January 2017.
  30. ^ "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.
  31. ^ Daniel AJ Sokolov. "Huawei-Kredit soll französische Suchmaschine Qwant über Wasser halten". heise.de. Retrieved 17 March 2022.
  32. ^ "What is GDPR? Everything you need to know about the new general data protection regulations". ZDNet. Retrieved 26 May 2022.
  33. ^ "Politique de Confidentialité - About Qwant". About Qwant (in French). Retrieved 26 May 2022.
  34. ^ "Fleksy – World fastest virtual keyboard, re-invented". fleksy.com. Retrieved 12 October 2019.
  35. ^ "Qwant". Qwant. Retrieved 17 January 2017.
  36. ^ "Datas, procès et paradis fiscaux : le délicat droit d'inventaire de Qwant". La Lettre A. 20 July 2020.
  37. ^ "Qwant : moteur de recherche ou simple agrégateur d'infos ?". Abondance (in French). 17 February 2013. Retrieved 19 August 2013.
  38. ^ "Qwant ?". Qwant. Retrieved 19 August 2013.
  39. ^ "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.
  40. ^ "Terms of Service | Qwant lite". Qwant Lite. Retrieved 17 January 2017.
  41. ^ "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.
  42. ^ aahill. "Use and display requirements for the Bing Search APIs - Azure Cognitive Services". docs.microsoft.com. Retrieved 10 August 2022.
  43. ^ "Direction interministérielle du numérique", Wikipédia (in French), 3 June 2022, retrieved 10 August 2022
  44. ^ Manach, Jean-Marc (19 May 2020). "Six ans après son lancement, Qwant n'était qu'un « prototype » selon la DINUM". www.nextinpact.com (in French). Retrieved 10 August 2022.
  45. ^ "Macron fait la pub du "Google français"". L'Obs. 14 April 2015. Retrieved 11 November 2017.

External links[edit]

Media related to Qwant at Wikimedia Commons