In a small, dark office in the quiet streets of Paris is a start-up, churning chipping away to take on Google. Its first product was launched 18 months ago and has since attracted a growing crowd of Europeans who are angry with Google’s control over how people surf over the web.
Local lawmakers have already proposed to the breakup of the American tech goliath, on the other hand the European Commission is amidst an anti-trust investigation into Google’s massive 85 percent share of the European search engine market.
Jean Manuel Rozan, co-founder of Qwant believes that there is a need for choice. In fact, Europe is the only continent on the planet where for the people, Google is the internet.
Will Qwant Be Able To Challenge Google?
Transforming Europe’s anti-Google slant into an effective business is much simpler than it seems. Google and its various services, including maps and online shopping has a tight grasp over how Europeans search for information online. In spite of Europe’s apparent animosity to American tech companies, tech goliaths keep on having solid followings over it.
In order to emerge as a solid company, Qwant sold a 20 percent stake to Axel Springer, a German publisher for $6 million in 2014 to buy European servers. Mathias Döpfner, the publisher’s CEO, has transparently scrutinized Google’s online predominance. Rozan says Qwant raked $1.8 million profit in 2014 yet, will post a loss as the search engine start-up is expanding into new markets like Germany. Currently, the company has less than 50 employees between its offices in Paris and Nice, in France.
The French start-up has additionally attempted to take advantage of Europeans’ growing mistrust about how they are being tracked on the web, as Google and Facebook and other American companies use information accumulated from individuals’ online histories to tailor advertising targeted to individuals. Europeans have other alternatives when it comes to search engines, like the Ixquick and DuckDuckGo.
Qwant says, it is not interested in tracking users’ webprints and sells advertising that is built using user’s search queries.
Rozan believes that the company can deliver search results without having to track users online. In 2014, Qwant registered 1.6 billion search queries, which comparatively is half of what Google handles in a day.
Qwant will next roll out a child-friendly search engine, called Qwant Junior in 2015. Google too has announced similar plans, although, it seems that the French government is letting the search giant discover an option.
Qwant Junior will be used in some French schools from 2016.
As per Éric Leandri, the other co-founder from Qwant, if 3 million children used Qwant, there’s going to be 6 million parents who will want to know more about the search engine. There’s another feature, this search engine includes social media posts from various sites like Twitter in its search results.
Qwant’s co-founders are hoping that with its streamlined focus on debated issues like privacy and combining social media posts in search results will help set it apart from competition.