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Other innovations 16/03/2015

How Qwant, a French start-up strives to compete with giant Google

These guys have guts! Three French entrepreneurs started Qwant, a search engine trying to shake up the American giant Google currently boasting of a market share exceeding 90%. Its strength: its independence and transparency, as Qwant claims not to keep any user information. Over a year after its launch, success is achieved: 8 million requests processed daily and a new search engine dedicated to juniors soon to be launched. In 2015, Qwant supports the Start-up of the Year competition together with GDF SUEZ.

Qwant, an acronym for “quantity” and “wanted… The most French of search engines answers a need for alternative, a necessity to be able to make a choice when faced only with Google, the American colossus, who has been, for many years, dominating the search engine market. The clay pot against the iron pot... The story begun with a crazy bet and an initial 3.5 million euro investment made by three co-founders: Eric Léandri, an IT Security specialist and main architect of the project; Jean-Manuel Rozan, in charge of finance; and Patrick Constant, CEO of Pertimm (an e-commerce platform development company), for logistics.

The idea looks simple and, most of all, crystal clear: Qwant will take no tracking cookies! Contrarily to Google, the French search engine commits not to automatically install on its users’ computers any of these programs supposed to enhance search efficiency that record all of their actions. No tracking whatsoever! Qwant advocates for the freedom to surf, including on social networks, which account for an ever-increasing share of Web search requests. “We are committed to the idea of keeping an open, global vision of the Web –social networks and sites included- whereas Google excludes part of contents”, explains Eric Léandri. Their business model: a fee is received each time a user opens an e-commerce site using the Qwant platform.

Launched in 2013 on the WWW, the concept appeals to users with a 20% monthly increase of the number of requests! Obviously, Qwant stands far from the 3.3 billion requests made daily on Google (100 billion per month), but the little search engine is creating a place for itself. Now available in 15 languages, it offers a novelty: a search engine specially designed for juniors. Named “Qwant Junior”, its vocation is to be the entrance gate for young Internet users when they surf the web at school. The search engine filters numerous results in order to propose solely approved sites. With the agreement of the French Ministry of National Education, Qwant Junior will be deployed nationwide, starting in 2015.


Source: Axelle de Guelz

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