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Qwant, one month after its launch

Qwant, in full form!

We didn’t expect it, but Pertimm did it! Officially launched one month ago to the day, the new search engine Qwant has been the talk of the town, even before it appeared. But what about today? Can it still live up to its title of future “Google Killer“?

An engine that runs?

Shortly after the launch of its beta version on 12 February 2013, the search engine Qwant experienced some criticism that damaged its reputation. Suspected of using Bing’s API to rank pages in its index, some web specialists quickly raised the alarm. However, this is not surprising… After only two years of development, the first version of Qwant did not revolutionize the world of search engines overnight. In fact, Pertimm leaves no room for doubt on this subject. The company says that the engine “supplements its own data with other search engines”, at least until the infrastructure is up and running, they seem to be telling us.

Despite its difficult beginnings, the engine is experiencing an interesting dynamic, even passing 35 million searches since the launch of its test version. Qwant also has a particularly original ambition that could pay off with web and new technology professionals. Indeed, the firm is counting on the indexing of messages from social networks to reach an increasingly vast and “hyper” connected target.

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Qwant, form instead of substance?

One only has to go back to the bowels of the web to realize the trends that have gradually led to Google’s hegemony. Initially, Yahoo, Lycos and Voilà, not to mention Altavista, shared a special place in the hearts of Internet users. But this was without counting on Google, which at the turn of the millennium was even named by Yahoo as the “best search engine” of that year. Unlike its competitors, Google had taken the side of technology to the detriment of design and strategy. Unlike Yahoo and its information portal, Google played the card of sobriety and quality of its index.

After 13 years of supremacy, what if Google is also experiencing a crisis that could put it in jeopardy? Although none of us would dare to imagine the decline of the Mountain View firm, the question is obviously raised with the appearance of this new engine, however recent it may be, and despite previous attempts by challengers who have come too close (DuckDuckGo, Blekko, Exalead). So how does Qwant differ from its designated competitor Google?

Qwant’s philosophy or reasons to hope for change

As we have seen previously, although the French search engine currently relies on several APIs, mainly Bing’s, the creators state their desire to offer results from the sole indexing work carried out by Qwant over the next few months, if not years. From that point of view, we’ll just have to wait and see if these statements are borne out over time.

Among the new features that can already be presented, Qwant offers a resolutely different display of results from its American counterpart, namely a single interface, offering results from various sources:

  • News from blogs or news sites (Live),
  • Shopping sites (Shopping),
  • Social networks from Facebook, Twitter, Google, LinkedIn, etc. (Social),
  • Wikipedia (Qnowledge Graph)

In addition, there are two lines dedicated exclusively to images and videos.

According to Eric Leandri, despite the current trend for sites to be visually clean and uncluttered, Qwant deliberately proposes a design where the various elements are stacked on the page despite an apparent hierarchy. Qwant has succeeded in freeing itself from a display of results that seemed to be a given until now.

Other major phenomena: the absence of advertising on the site, the ability to scroll from one page of results to another, the possibility of refining one’s search by adding new keywords after an initial request, and the possibility of modifying the display of results, i.e. a split layout (“Mosaic”), oriented towards multimedia (“Media”), or social networks (“People”)

So, we can expect a lot from this project. In addition to the fact that its founders have worked on the internal search engines of the Meetic site, Nasa, etc., Qwant is truly different from previous attempts in its originality and creativity. Qwant really stands out from previous attempts by its originality and creativity. All that remains is to hope that the services will evolve over the long term and that Internet users will follow the developments of this small engine in search of recognition.

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