updated 04:30 pm EDT, Tue March 11, 2008
France funds Google foe
The European Commission has approved the contribution of €99 million in French funding to a potential Google competitor, writes Agence France-Presse. The Quaero search engine project represents a collaboration between 23 different companies, including France's Thomson; it has not, however, so far found enough funding to get started, as its costs in the next five years are projected to be €199 million. The Commission itself has expressed doubts about Quaero, saying it "is not spontaneously underpinned by the market owing to divergent interests within the consortium and to uncertainties regarding the project's chances of success."
The funding is in fact unusually timed, as the Commmission has simultaneously strengthened Google by approving its acquisition of DoubleClick, removing the company's final obstacle to expansion. In also supporting Quaero, the Commission argues that the project "brings positive externalities for the community as a whole."
Clients for Quaero are expected to include ISPs, content publishers and movie studios. The finished product should be available from a number of mediums, including computers, cellphones, TVs and other interactive options.