Qwant

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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; 5 years ago (2013-07)
Current statusActive
Content license
Proprietary

Qwant is a web search engine, launched in July 2013 and operated from Paris, France. It claims not to employ user tracking and doesn't personalize search results in order to avoid trapping users in a filter bubble.[2] It is available in 13 languages.

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.

In the development phase, Qwant searches were powered by Bing;[4] 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.[5]

Search engine[edit]

The search engine entered public beta on 16 February 2013, after two years of research and development.[6] The first stable version was released on 4 July 2013.[7] A new version was made available in April 2015.[8]

Qwant offers several ways to filter results to areas of interest:[9]

  • Web
  • News
  • Social
  • Images
  • Videos
  • Music
  • Junior
  • Maps (alpha)
  • Causes

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.[10] 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.[11]

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.[12] 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.[13]

The French government in 2018 decreed that all government searches be done using Qwant.[14]

Company[edit]

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 between 25 and 50 people, spread over three French cities, including Paris, Ajaccio, and Nice, where R&D takes place.[15]

The company claims that it makes money through commissions it receives when users visit websites like eBay and Tripadvisor from its search results.[16]

From 2011 to 2014, Qwant acquired a total funding of 3.5 million, part of it as a loan. It was aided in its operation by special tax breaks from the French government.[clarification needed][citation needed] 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.[17][18] In 2016 the European Investment Bank invested €25 million.[19]

Privacy[edit]

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:[20]

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.

Criticism[edit]

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.[21] 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.[22]

While respecting privacy, the terms of service state that these may be changed at any time:[23]

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.[24]

Reception[edit]

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.[17]

The service has received public support from French investment banker and current President, Emmanuel Macron.[25]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ https://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/qwant.com
  2. ^ "Data Privacy Policy". About Qwant. Retrieved 26 October 2017.
  3. ^ "Qwant.com Analytics – Market Share Stats & Traffic Ranking". www.similarweb.com.
  4. ^ "Qwant, derrière le masque du Google killer français". Lucien Théodore (in French). 16 February 2013. Retrieved 30 January 2019.
  5. ^ https://www.similarweb.com/fr/website/qwant.com
  6. ^ "About". Qwant. Retrieved 19 August 2013.
  7. ^ "Qwant : le nouveau moteur de recherche français est officiellement lancé". Atlantico (in French). Retrieved 19 August 2013.
  8. ^ "Welcome to the new Qwant!". Blog Qwant. 17 April 2015. Retrieved 26 October 2017.
  9. ^ "Qwant : le nouveau moteur de recherche made in France fait de bons débuts". Atlantico (in French). Retrieved 19 August 2013.
  10. ^ "Qwant Lite est spécifiquement adapté aux utilisateurs d'anciennes versions de navigateurs". archives.nicematin.com.
  11. ^ "Qwant Boards". Qwant Boards. Retrieved 17 January 2017.
  12. ^ "Mozilla : une version de Firefox avec le moteur Qwant par défaut". 5 July 2016.
  13. ^ "Brave Browser Github page". Github. Retrieved 10 August 2017.
  14. ^ France is ditching Google to reclaim its online independence [1]
  15. ^ "Le moteur de recherche Qwant recrute à Nice".
  16. ^ "Google schendt misschien je privacy, maar overstappen is ook weer zo'n werk". nrc.nl. Retrieved 17 January 2017.
  17. ^ a b Scott, Mark. "Qwant Wants to Be Alternative to Google". Bits Blog. Retrieved 17 January 2017.
  18. ^ Axel Springer SE. "Axel Springer Digital Ventures is participating in French startup Qwant.com". www.axelspringer.de. Retrieved 17 January 2017.
  19. ^ "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 17 January 2017.
  20. ^ "Qwant". Qwant. Retrieved 17 January 2017.
  21. ^ "Qwant : moteur de recherche ou simple agrégateur d'infos ?". Abondance (in French). Retrieved 19 August 2013.
  22. ^ "Qwant ?". Qwant. Retrieved 19 August 2013.
  23. ^ "Terms of Service | Qwant lite". Qwant Lite. Retrieved 17 January 2017.
  24. ^ "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.
  25. ^ "Macron fait la pub du "Google français"". L'Obs. Retrieved 11 November 2017.

See also[edit]