Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
The Internet Government Software Politics

EU to Develop Search Engine 460

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the searching-for-answers dept.
William Robinson writes "Digital Media is reporting that French President Jacques Chirac is making plans for a European search engine called "Quaero" to rival US internet companies such as Yahoo and Google. From the article: 'Those involved in the Quaero project, including Thomson, France Telecom and Deutsche Telekom, have said that it will be much more than a typical search engine. It will provide an array of multimedia tools for identifying and indexing images, sound and text. Quaero will also reportedly include a powerful translating tool which will be able to 'understand' audio as well as text. The developers plan to make Quaero available on all platforms, including PCs, mobile devices and digital TVs.'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

EU to Develop Search Engine

Comments Filter:
  • by jo7hs2 (884069) on Monday January 16, 2006 @03:07PM (#14484018) Homepage
    Welcome to the great technological pissing war.
    • Agreed. In light of this and the Galileo story, I'm having trouble seeing how spending government money to reinvent everything America has is a good idea.
  • by XorNand (517466) * on Monday January 16, 2006 @03:08PM (#14484031)

    MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. - January 16, 2011 - Google Inc. (Nasdaq: GOOG) today announced it acquired France, a country located in Western Europe, mostly associated with fine cheeses, wine, berets, and the 5-yr old search engine "Quaero".

    Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 16, 2006 @03:20PM (#14484180)
      More likely:

      "26th of April 2006, Google declares war on France

        27th of April 2006, France surrenders and hands over presidency to Larry Page"
      • You know what the biggest irony of France-bashing is? More than the historical inaccuracies, it's the fact that of all the European countries, the French as a culture tend to be more fond of Americans than anywhere else. Personally, I think it's the French who understand the best features of the American psyche better than any other Europeans do. (The English certainly don't.) And both the US and France are in some sense post-revolutionary republics.

        It's really sad - Americans just don't get that they are s
    • You mispelled "whine".

      Oh, am I going to get nailed for this one...
  • by Anonymous Coward
    what does it have to do with Apple?
  • Real reason (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 16, 2006 @03:09PM (#14484047)
    The real reason is to filter out certain results on the query "French Military History".
    • by Compuser (14899) on Monday January 16, 2006 @03:29PM (#14484272)
      In that case, why involve Deutsche Telekom? Or rather, why did
      Deutsche Telekom get involved?
    • Re:Real reason (Score:2, Informative)

      by arethuza (737069)
      So what about the Battle of Tours [wikipedia.org]?

      I would have thought it would have met with approval by our friends over the pond.

      I am Scots - so naturally biased because of the Auld Alliance (not mention Val D'Isere [valdisere.com]).

    • when the Norman French conquered Britain

      Or when Napoleon captured most of Europe

      Of course you might mean when they ignominiously pulled out of Vietnam leaving the Americans to bring a succesful conclusion to the war there.
    • Don't know, they've never done it.
    • by SuperKendall (25149) *
      The real reason is to filter out certain results on the query "French Military History".

      A funny question on the face of it but a very serious one if you think about it. What is to stop a government built search engine from tweaking the results just a bit to elimate embarrasment?

      I think governments have no business in entreprises that involve shaping what media citizens see.

      And for those paranoid about NSA apying, just why do you think they aim to parse the audio in the first place? Hint; It's not primar
  • Quaero.com taken (Score:3, Insightful)

    by digitaldc (879047) * on Monday January 16, 2006 @03:09PM (#14484049)
    Q: How exactly does Quaero translate: "Google is the best internet search engine ever made."
    Inquiring minds want to know.

    Check out http://www.quaero.com/ [quaero.com] - its a marketing company from Charlotte, North Carolina.
    • by Xemu (50595) on Monday January 16, 2006 @03:17PM (#14484151) Homepage
      Check out http://www.quaero.com/ [quaero.com] [quaero.com] - its a marketing company from Charlotte, North Carolina.

      And they're pretty damn good at viral marketing if they even get the President of France to advertise for them.
      • Maybe they'll try to aquire the DNS root servers and redirect all Quaero.com and google.com requests to their site.

        Now how would they go about doing that?
    • Quaero.eu (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      In Europe, ".com" is not ubiquitous. Instead, the common format is to use the .xx country-based TLD. Or, if you are going to be EU-wide, as suggested in the article, then you would be Quaero.eu and not some silly .com

      Additionally, who knows what kind of alternative algorithm tweak they might give results. For example, boosting .xx results slightly over .com results. Or perhaps boosting links which get .xx links TO them instead of *all* links (translation: what is more important to Europeans, as valued b
    • My guess is that it will be quaero.eu
  • Why? (Score:3, Informative)

    by fishybell (516991) <fishybell AT hotmail DOT com> on Monday January 16, 2006 @03:09PM (#14484050) Homepage Journal
    If there's a true need for it, won't the market fulfil the need [google.com]?

    Also, just because the government says that it should "understand" spoken audio, I'm pretty sure that no existing technology could even come close (<sarcasm>just look at the wonderful translation tools</sarcasm>).

    • Re:Why? (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      The market does not solve every problem. The market has failed to provide affordable health care for every American and those who call themselves Christians have failed to pick up where the market has left off. I left my church because the governing council was more interested in how to decorate the church for Easter than in how to feed the hungry two blocks away.
      • Re:Why? (Score:3, Insightful)

        by DoorFrame (22108)
        Well, yeah, but the market hasn't failed to produce an adequate search engine.
      • Re:Why? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by 955301 (209856) on Monday January 16, 2006 @03:45PM (#14484423) Journal
        the market isn't in charge of healthcare in America. Healthcare here is recovering from a hobbling brought on by the insistence that your employer is responsible for your health and because insurance companies dilute the sting of the overpriced costs. So before it gets better, it has to get worse. But if it's left to the same pressures that drive stereos, gym memberships and washing machines, it would be a non-issue.

        And you really expect a self serving religious movement to exercise compassion efficiently? Compassionate people excercise compassion, not community organizations. Get enough money in an org and the greedy come in and push the compassion right out the door.

        • Re:Why? (Score:3, Insightful)

          by greythax (880837)
          But if it's left to the same pressures that drive stereos, gym memberships and washing machines, it would be a non-issue.

          This is, most likely, not the case. Healthcare, like gasoline, fresh water, and electricity is less an elective service, and more of a utility. In order to survive, you will most likely need health care at some point. It is highly unlikely that you will shop around while your appendix is bursting. And ultimately, you will pay whatever they tell you to pay, because you could die withou
          • Re:Why? (Score:3, Insightful)

            by evilviper (135110)

            This is, most likely, not the case. Healthcare, like gasoline, fresh water, and electricity is less an elective service, and more of a utility.

            That's strange, those all sound ideally suited for the market.

            Water, for instance, doesn't involve the utilities so much anymore. People drive to a store and pick-up a forklift-load of bottled water, or they have 5 gallon bottles delivered. People get to decide how much they are willing to pay, and what level of quality they require. I wouldn't be surprised if, in

    • Re:Why? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by NewbieProgrammerMan (558327) on Monday January 16, 2006 @03:40PM (#14484377)
      Also, just because the government says that it should "understand" spoken audio, I'm pretty sure that no existing technology could even come close...
      Isn't the lack of existing technology usually the reason one funds research?
    • Re:Why? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by bombadillo (706765)
      If there's a true need for it, won't the market fulfil the need [google.com]?

      Not always. Examples would be the Interstate Highway system and TVA. The market generally won't carry large scale farsighted neccesities. The highway system and TVA served as a primer for private commerce in the US which we are enjoying today. Some projects have to be done by the Government when private interestes can't deliver. Quaero obviously is not one of them as several private companies are in the search engine bus
    • If there's a true need for it, won't the market fulfil the need?

      Not if the need is to help building the great wall of France. Please note that there are certain types of websites one cannot host in France, and companies such as Ebay cannot allow users located in France to even see certain types of auctions.

      The government may have a compelling need that the market will never fill.

      -Adam
  • Nothing to see (Score:5, Informative)

    by Snamh Da Ean (916391) on Monday January 16, 2006 @03:09PM (#14484051)
    Really little content in the article, a representative sample of which is "The ambitious project will probably not be available anytime in the near future. Quaero is still in the earliest stages of development, so early that none of the major players have yet ventured a guess as to how much the project might cost. When Quaero does launch, it will have a great deal of catching up to do."

    So basically, a bunch of European telecoms companies are discussing how to compete with Google. And this is news why? Nothing to see here.
  • by HugePedlar (900427) on Monday January 16, 2006 @03:09PM (#14484053) Homepage
    Query: "King Richard the Lionheart"

    Results: 1. "I fart in your general direction".

    Seriously, though - I definitely think there's a market for an effective multimedia search engine: imagine being able to whistle a song into your mic, for example and being told what it was called.
    • Or perhaps I meant King Arthur. Damn, it's too long since my last Python fix.
    • I am glad that you think that, because that is precisely what I proposed for Google's summer of code. They refused it, but I'm developing it on my own. It probably won't be done for a while (as in around a year, if not longer). Tonesearch.net will be the website (there's nothing to see there yet).

      The process is basically three step:
      1. Translate pitches into notes.
      2. Match the general sequence of notes to a known melody in the database.
      3. Return them by how close each note is to its corresponding note in the
  • by ZachPruckowski (918562) <zachary.pruckowski@gmail.com> on Monday January 16, 2006 @03:10PM (#14484066)
    If it is something run by the EU, it's going to face a lot of political hurdles. I recognize that gov'ts are sometimes better at providing these services than companies, but the EU has a whole lot more red tape to get through than most other gov't organizations. And the French President supporting it is no promise it'll happen. He lost the vote to ratify the EU constitution in his country.

    I'm not saying it won't happen, just that it'll face lots of problems in a new governmental organization that is still trying to get its feet under it.
    • Say what? (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Mindjiver (71)
      When has a government ever provided a service like this that is better and cheaper than what the market would have produced?
  • Doomed to failure? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Z0mb1eman (629653) on Monday January 16, 2006 @03:10PM (#14484073) Homepage
    As much as I'd like to see something like this happen - it's a huge project, led by SEVERAL governments and telecom companies, neither of which are exactly known for efficiency or technical brilliance. And it doesn't seem like there's much profit incentive, which makes it even less likely to be finished efficiently...

    It's great that the EU is trying to assert itself in this area - having the US control 90% of the internet's technology is exactly the type of monoculture that is decried on the desktop - but is there any way this project won't end up crushed under the weight of its own bureaucracy?
    • Nonsense. That's the EU money train. where do I sign up for some corporate Baksheesh with Euronationalistic undertones?!
    • is there any way this project won't end up crushed under the weight of its own bureaucracy?

      No, not really. And before they can publish a single page of documentation, they will have to make sure it is translated to each one of the dozens of official languages of the Union. And make a good business case for the big incumbent telcos (FT, DT), big technology dinosaurs, and some submarine company planted there to make the project fail, everybody pushing conflicting requirements of course.
      I am thinking of many o
      • And before they can publish a single page of documentation, they will have to make sure it is translated to each one of the dozens of official languages of the Union.

        Boy, can't wait to see the comments on *that* code. ;D
    • Bureaucracy is not the problem. The real issue is that you can't index works without permission from the authors because indexing is gradually recognized as a new commercial exploitation right (as far as copyright is concerned). Unless you blatantly ignore copyrights (which is problematic for a government-led project), a modern search engine can't really take off and become a useful tool.

      Apart from that, various pressure groups will ask that the search results are adjusted according to various laws: searc
  • Missing Feature (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jerf (17166) on Monday January 16, 2006 @03:11PM (#14484088) Journal
    It will also include a multi-lingual pony.

    You know, I thought marketing vaporware claims were bad, but political marketing vaporware, now that's whole new dimensions of vapor. It's bad enough when marketing has excessive influence on tech development, can you imagine what it'll be like when politicians are involved as a matter of "national prestige"? I have not the humor chops to properly satirize that.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 16, 2006 @03:12PM (#14484098)
    Shades of the Nixon-Khrushchev "kitchen debate".

    The Soviets turned their national scientific and research genius into making *one* perfect washing machine, as the foolish Americans splintered their effort among competing companies tearing each other to shreds in destructive competition over shape and color.

    "Today, we are behind you. Soon we will be even with you, and we shall pass you, in glorious progress toward perfect socialism and communism!" (or something like that).

    How can feeble, fractured American enterprises like Yahoo and Google survive competition with the might of central, coordinated European industrial policy???

    Right.
  • There's just something slightly unseemly about this. Government-coordinated search just chafes, I guess - though much of Europe is presumably used to communicating over state-owned infrastructure anyway. But at least they'll have no trouble keeping pages about German WWII relics from being indexed, this way.
  • Jokes aside, Americans may laugh because google already indexes multimedia and a host of other information like scientific journals and nudey pics. But the Euros have a healthy dose of nationalism that will likely influence their homepage.

    I don't think anyone can compete with google right now in a slug match on indexing, but other factors make special purpose internet hubs a winner. (a number already exist such as yahoo and /.)
  • Wow (Score:4, Funny)

    by ScaryFroMan (901163) <scaryfroman@hotmail.c3.14om minus pi> on Monday January 16, 2006 @03:15PM (#14484128)
    I'm usually not one to say that Slashdot is slow, but geeze, SNL got it first.

    Something like its a search engine that after you enter in a query, it rudely refuses.

  • by tibbetts (7769) <jason@NoSpAM.tibbetts.net> on Monday January 16, 2006 @03:16PM (#14484138) Homepage Journal
    'Quaero' (Latin for 'to search')
    No, it's Latin for 'I search'. The author should have Googled it [google.com].
  • Most europeans are quite happy with their californian-bred search engines. Plus, they don't have awkard names.
    • Most europeans are quite happy with their californian-bred search engines. Plus, they don't have awkard names.

      Maybe so, but as an american (who translates for a living) I think this really could be a good thing. Eurodicautom (and the soon-to-be-released IATE) are invaluable for intergovernmental documentation within Europe.

  • by Loco3KGT (141999) on Monday January 16, 2006 @03:17PM (#14484152)
    that France was looking to invent a "circular transportation facilitation device." Could I get someone to confirm that?
  • Quaero? (Score:4, Funny)

    by nekoniku (183821) <[justicek] [at] [comcast.net]> on Monday January 16, 2006 @03:17PM (#14484158) Homepage
    Sounds delicious! I'll have two, no onions.
  • by Aphrika (756248) on Monday January 16, 2006 @03:18PM (#14484172)
    1. Try and come up with a domain name that isn't ambiguous in how it's said or spelt.

    2. Start asking us EU citizens if we'd mind you spending our cash on something that isn't really required

    3. get out of the mindset that the internet is somehow defined by geographical borders and edges - just what is an EU search engine? Does it just search the EU? What?

    4. How about attacking the problem of low tech-esteem in Europe not by building a government-sponsered programme (which no doubt will require taxpayers money to be thrown at it year on year), but by fostering an environment where private tech companies can flourish (like in the US).

  • Since this is kindda old news, there's already several stories [google.com] in various news media. It ranges from wild guesses to (a few) facts. Quite interesting read.
  • by DrXym (126579) on Monday January 16, 2006 @03:20PM (#14484188)
    No one is going to have the foggiest idea how to type quero, queero, quato, kumquat, kuato or whatever the hell it is into their addrees bar.
  • So this search engine will run on all platforms, index everything in every type of media, etc. etc. etc.

    While they're at it, why don't they just say it will cure cancer and bring an end to poverty and war?

    In other words, this is all vaporware. We should all know by now that the claims of a project when it is started can be very different from the reality when (oops, make that "if") it is completed.
  • by Weaselmancer (533834) on Monday January 16, 2006 @03:27PM (#14484256)

    igital Media is reporting that French President Jacques Chirac is making plans for a European search engine called "Quaero" to rival US internet companies such as Yahoo and Google.

    "Making plans for" is a long, long way from delivering anything. I'm betting that once they start to realize the scope of what they're suggesting, they will change their tune a bit. Or at least scale back the idea somewhat. A google that understands audio and video?

    Good luck though, because after all it's saying "why not" that makes change happen - but I think they'll be surprised when they realize the magnitude of their undertaking. Underestimating Google is a classic internet blunder.

  • I am sure that this search engine will have all sorts of wonderful hidden features... for example, if someone searches for information about risky or unhealthy behavior, I am sure the search engine will at least give them a warning, if not omitting the information (after all, the government has an obligation to protect people). I am sure it will definitly ommit information about illegal activities. I am sure the system will profile people based on their search topics, so that potential terrorists, hate crim
  • Those involved in the Quaero project, including Thomson, France Telecom and Deutsche Telekom, have said that it will be much more than a typical search engine

    I'm waiting for a press release that say something like "Those involved in the Chameleon search engine project have stated that Chameleon will be a complete ripoff of existing search engines, with little to no innovation."

    I'm long past getting excited about products that were just announced by groups that have no significant track record in the area th
  • Putting together a project like that simply because they don't want to use commercial offerings based in the United States is stupid. Without solid motivation, ingenuity and demand, it is doomed to fail.

    -d
  • Let's make a bet (Score:2, Insightful)

    by dada21 (163177) *
    Take people with the same energy as those who work for the DMV, and put them up against people with the same energy as those who work for your average car dealer.

    Train both sets of people to become software developers.

    Let's bet on the outcome. Public programmers are shams just like public workers in any public office. Cronying at best, lazy worthless animals at worst.

    How Europeans continually think that they can compete by removing competition and giving it to government is beyond me.
  • by DAldredge (2353) <SlashdotEmail@GMail.Com> on Monday January 16, 2006 @03:40PM (#14484376) Journal
    Since most of Europe has 'hate speech' laws, how much of the net will this search engine be forced to block?
  • They should just buy enough Google stock in order to put someone on the board to represent their interests. It would be much easier and probably cheaper than a big project like this.
  • It will provide an array of multimedia tools for identifying and indexing images, sound and text. Quaero will also reportedly include a powerful translating tool which will be able to 'understand' audio as well as text. The developers plan to make Quaero available on all platforms, including PCs, mobile devices and digital TVs. and while we are dreaming... the EU will be offering a pony to every little girl and boy and a Christmas turkey to all families (except ones of North African heritage and anyone who
  • Seems to me the EU is trying to reduce their reliance on U.S based technology. I wonder if they will start up their own Internet too.
  • The people who thought this up don't have much of a clue.

    They mention that they want to create this new search engine "to rival US internet companies such as Yahoo and Google." I assume that means that they want this search engine to make as much money as Yahoo and Google.

    News Flash: the "search" part of Yahoo and Google really doesn't make a lot of money. It's just a vehicle for all their other projects.

    Yahoo makes a ton of money because they have their hand in a lot of different pies, as evidenced by thei
  • I understand the new French search engine has already surrendered to the German engine.

  • It will be more expensive to run, cost money to do searches and try to block stuff that is uncompetitive with their high prices.

  • Not an EU project (Score:5, Informative)

    by brpr (826904) on Monday January 16, 2006 @04:14PM (#14484716)
    Typical for Slashdot to get this wrong. This isn't an EU project. It's a collaboration between the French and German governments (and in fact they are only collaborating to encourage French and German companies to develop a search engine).
  • by saskboy (600063)
    Slashdot posted about the ESA's space Ion Engine just a few days ago...

    Oh. This is another kind of search engine? Why not use Google?
  • Sheesh (Score:3, Insightful)

    by AceJohnny (253840) <jlargentaye@[ ]il.com ['gma' in gap]> on Monday January 16, 2006 @05:10PM (#14485197) Journal
    Disclaimer: I'm (mostly) french.

    This isn't the first time our dear (cough) beloved (gak) President presses for a catch-up plan in the digital world. Remember he started a project to digitize our paper legacy, in an attempt to counter Google's similar but english-language project.

    Now I can vaguely undestand the motivation behind such a move: present a counter force against english-language cultural domination. (considering how China is growing, I'm not sure american culture is the one to be feared in the coming century). This *is* a cultural problem on the internet. I'd rather we all speak a common language, but to each his own.

    Maybe he's trying to get his name in the history books for starting such projects. People tend to try that when they get to that age. I could understand that too.

    Of course, this project would be in direct competition with Google, such as it's presented. It strikes me as basic economic common sense that a trans-european politically-led project has not a snowball's chance in hell in any market competition.

    Maybe as an academic project?...
  • by Stan Vassilev (939229) on Monday January 16, 2006 @05:16PM (#14485248)
    First they felt bad US owns the backbone of Internet so they stepped up to control it and/or make their own "European Internet".

    Now that it didn't quote work our, they decided to settle for the next big thing, which is have their own "European Search Engine".

    What the hell is that? A joke? And I actually live in Europe so it hurts to say this. I'd be proud if an European company comes up with "the next Google" but coming from the French government it comes up as a "me too" behaviour.

16.5 feet in the Twilight Zone = 1 Rod Serling

Working...