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The German giant publisher Axel Springer, which is an outspoken critic of Google’s dominance of online search, took a minority stake of 20% in a French search engine startup called QWANT in June 2014.

What seems to have attracted Axel Springer was that the French startup has a policy of not tracking its users or monitoring their behavior and focusses on data privacy. According to its founder, QWANT wants to present a different search approach to Google for its users.

In search mode, the results are divided into five vertical columns on the same page. The first column shows a result similar to that obtained on a Google search; the second column gives an account of the current affairs related to the search; the third column carries information from Wikipedia; the fourth column supplies comments sourced from social networks and the final column covers shopping information related to the search term.

The QWANT service was launched in France in 2013 and in Germany in March 2014. The startup has 25 employees with most of its software engineers based in Nice.

QWANT needs to complete the development of its technology and architecture if it wants to compete with Google, the  web giant of the world. The French company is still very small compared to its US counterpart. Google processed more than 2000 times more search requests than QWANT in 2013.

However, the French startup has already launched in 25 countries and 15 languages and the funds brought by Axel Springer will help it increase its international presence.


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Online publishing, July 8th, 2014


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