Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Europe’s answer to Google and Yahoo

What the airbus was for the aircraft industry, the search engine Quaero (Latin for ‘I search’) must become for the web. This proposed search engine must become the European answer to Google and Yahoo. This multimedia search engine project is a collaborative effort of French and German companies.

The consortium exists of French and German companies and institutes. Two major telcos, France Télécom and Deutsche Telecom are participating. There is a slew of technology companies and institutes: Bertin Technologies, Exalead, Jouve, LTU, Vecsys and Thalès. Research will be done by Inria, Inra, IMSI-CNRS, Clips/Mag, RWTH-AAchen and University of Kalrsruhe, as well as the content providers INA et Studio Hamburg. I know Jouve as the French textual search engine manufacturer from the CD-ROM era. INA is the French national institutes for audiovisual materials such as movies.

The search engine will be searching and accessing text, audio and video. The project claims to use unique technologies of recognition, transcription, indexing and automatic translation of audiovisual documents. Besides text and voice recognition, the technology will also be able to recognise images. The project has already started and is indexing pages. Exalead will have 4 billion pages by the end of January and 8 billion in six months.

The French government will put up 150 million euro. Germany has not announced its contribution. An European contribution can come from the 6th call in the IST programme, which has a budget of 30 million euro for the development of multimedia search engines.


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