January 8, 2007 9:37 AM PST

Germany bows out of European 'Google killer'

Quaero, the pan-European search effort intended to rival Google, has seen the German government withdraw its support. At the same time, the EC has promised $11.05 million to a rival local search project, Pharos.

The German government cited differences over the technological direction of the project for its withdrawal less than two years after the Quaero project kicked off. It has decided to follow its own search path, Hartmut Schauerte, a secretary of state attached to the German Economics Ministry, said recently.

Quaero--intended by the French as a multimedia search engine focused on indexing photos and videos--will now become a solely French project. It will be led by Thomson with the support of a number of entities: Arvato; startup Exalead; and France Telecom, or LTU Technologies. It will receive assistance from the INA (the National Institute of the Audiovisual) and research institute Inria.

The German government will now concentrate on its own search effort, named Theseus. Theseus will focus on semantic research, which aims to understand the context of a search request.

A French businessman involved with the Quaero project told French daily newspaper Liberation: "Quaero has never been a Franco-German project except in the head of the politicians. We saw the Germans once for a meeting, and that's all."

Since Germany's decision to exit Quaero in late December, the European Commission has awarded $10.4 million to another search project, called Pharos.

Pharos will be a platform for search of audiovisual resources across online spaces, led by Fast, a Norwegian search software company. It will be both privately and publicly financed, and it has recently been awarded $11.05 million by the European Commission.

Thirteen partners from nine countries--Austria, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, Spain, Switzerland and the U.K.--will be involved in the project.

Estelle Dumout of ZDNet France reported from Paris. Jo Best of Silicon.com reported from London.

See more CNET content tagged:
Quaero Corp., Pharos, Germany, project, government

20 comments

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"google killer"
An absolute joke. Name one gov't agency that can outmaneuver a
private company. Don't suggest the military, GE could build h-
bombs cheaper that what gov't pays for them anyday.
Posted by bassboat8 (47 comments )
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What a joke
building cheap and building quality are two different things...

GE H-bombs would work 50% of the time... be unsafe and last 5 years before they would hit their warranty period then bleh

The military and NASA spend more but its because things have to work ALL the time with way more restrictions to things like safety... dont compare private industries to those non-profit ones...
Posted by volterwd (466 comments )
Link Flag
could these projects happen in Europe
I thought these type of projects -- which are only to rip off tax payer's money -- only happened in China (or other 3rd world countries,) but they can happen in Europe as well.
Posted by hackingbear (79 comments )
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Waste of money ?
Europeans invented the concept of the corporation generations ago and have moved on, there are many trans-national european projects that would never have been funded by private industries.

For example... I don't see GE or Boeing coming up with something to rival Concorde, Arianne or Galileo anytime soon, and where would Google be without CERN ?

Then there's stuff like the channel tunnel, the oresund bridge, giotto, ITER, carbon trading,... Multibillion Euro high-risk projects that no single company or nation would be able to get off the ground.

In Europe they understand that sometimes the governments have to invest in high risk ventures if the benefit the continent out weighs the financial risk.

Imagine what life in central America would be like if the United States collaborated with it's neighbours instead of quashing them.
Posted by webbod (24 comments )
Link Flag
Google Killer
This end was predictable when the project was initiated. It was doomed for failure in the first place and this for several reasons:
- it was intended to be a political response to US-english speaking dominance in the search market: political responses generaly speaking just do not work in a competitive market. We have never seen it work in any area, there was no reasons to work in such case!
- like in any cross european projects, the funding from states assumes the creation of "consortium" of companies from all participating countries, without clear leadership. Again, this has never worked in the past
- the initial consortium was like a bunch of alligators in the same river! (all of them were competitors in the "free market". However getting government money was (and still is!) good to pay for political project teams , managed by large IT companies using knowhow of smaller, inventive start ups too small to enter into the game.

This kind of situation is not found only in France or Europe. Do you know a US company working on "data mining " for government, NSA, CIA, coming out with a commercial product and making it a success ? There are even doubts if they even deliver to the client!!
Posted by minoal (7 comments )
Reply Link Flag
After all Germany is still under US occupation
What do you expect from my gutless coward German country anyway?
Do you expect Germany to actually challenge US hegemony of the world?
Certainly not. After all 50 years after WWII there are still 150,000 US troops occupying Germany. In fact more US troops occupy Germany than occupy Iraq and time after time US government justified the occupation of Iraq based on "look 50 years after WWII we still have 100K+ troops
in Germany, why not same for Iraq....."
So of course German government would bow out of a project to create a search engine that would give Europeans an alternative source of nformation/news than the Google & Yahoo monopoly.
After all you must be blind or brain dead not to realize that Google & Yahoo are/were as much supported by US gov as is the CIA or NSA which care essentially in the same business, that is control what people see & hear worldwide and to influence them for the benefit of the US/UK hegemony of the world.

And here is the real kicker, you would think that this US hegemony of the world would benefit the average American citizen, but it does not. After all US citizens dont even have Universal Health care which even the poorest countries in Europe offers to its people.

Auf Wiedersehen :)
Posted by free_people (66 comments )
Reply Link Flag
wow
Thats all I can say. Wow.
Posted by rapier1 (2722 comments )
Link Flag
just factual correction
hi

im not gonna comment on the political stuff you guys mentioned. just like to correct some numbers going around. there are not 150,000 troops in Germany. there may be 150,000 US military personnel in Germany, but there are not 150,000 combat troops in Germany. the figure is closer to 55,000 combat troops, mainly armoured and mechanised brigades. there are 38,000 in korea, and one infantry division in Afghanistan with attached specialist battalions. the iraqi zone is by far the largest deployment of US troops, with 140,000 active duty combat troops there. you can check on www.army.mil or wikipedia.
Posted by nzrobstar (4 comments )
Link Flag
Just call on Ms Dewey.com
or as Nelson would say Ha! Ha!

we live in a dynamic changing world, no one search engine suits all!
Posted by heystoopid (691 comments )
Reply Link Flag
French...
They can never accept/admit american superiority.
What are you gonna do?

P.S.: I'm not American.
Posted by Ryo Hazuki (378 comments )
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