European Search Engine Alliance To Challenge Google
Search: dominated by the US
Not only is the search engine
industry dominated by Google - most searches done world wide today are
done by one of the three giants: Google, Yahoo! and MSN, all American
It is not that the Europeans haven’t contributed to search engine development. Yahoo’s search engine is for instance partly based on the AlltheWeb search engine, developed by — and bought from – the Norwegian search engine company Fast Search & Transfer.
Read on to learn about Fast’s new alliance and their ambitious plans for web search innovation.
French and Scandinavian search engines
saw the birth of a new French search engine, Exalead, which has an
English language version covering the whole world. In a short time the
French will also launch a new multimedia search engine called Quaero.
However, the Northern Euorpeans are not resting on their laurels. Scandinavians are some of the most extreme users of advanced information technology in the world, and most of them are very familiar with the Internet. This means that information- and communication companies as well as media conglomerates are looking for new ways of making money. The success of Google has proved that search is one of them.
Fast Search & Transfer, the Norwegian company behind AlltheWeb is alive and kicking, although it has shifted its focus to enterprise search tools (i.e. search technologies for company databases, intranets and web sites).
Still, as Pandia reported last November Fast is slowly moving back into the web search arena. The company has, for instance, provided the technology behind the new Norwegian Sesam.no search engine.
Norwegian Schibsted, one of Scandinavia’s leading media companies, owns Sesam. Schibsted owns several newspapers and web sites in Europe.
The Information Access Disruptions (iAd) network
to the Norwegian policy newletter Mandag Morgen (Monday Morning) Fast
and Schibsted are now building an research alliance with Accenture and
several universities in Norway, Ireland and the US, including the
Norwegian University of Science and Technology (which gave birth to
Fast), the University of Tromsø, the University of Oslo, the Norwegian
School of Management, Dublin City University, University College Dublin
and Cornell University in the US.
The partners are to invest some NOK 340 million (US$ 51 million) in the new research center Information Access Disruptions (iAd) over an eight year period, Monday Morning reports. The objective is to develop a strong Norwegian industrial cluster that is ultimately to conquer a significant part of the worldwide search engine market.
Possible public funding
alliance has also applied for support from the Research Council of
Norway, which may give the network status as a Centre for Research
Driven Innovation in June this year. If the Research Council decides to
support Fast & Co, the public money will go to the academic
The iAd network will for instance work on developing search technologies for searching a wide variety of file formats, and in particular radio and TV programs.
The consortium plans to educate some 30 new engineers and 28 PhDs. There will be at least one new prototype, ten new patents and three new services annually, as well as four so-called ”disruptive” products or services (i.e. radical innovations that change the market place).
Will Fast succeed?
Fast succeed in this? Well, whether the Research Council of Norway
decides to support them depends on a large number of political,
industrial and academic factors.
Fast and the University of Science and Technology in Trondheim has certainly proved that they are capable of delivering very advanced search engine technologies, and Schibsted is quite successful in the media market.
ownership of Fast is again stable. As Pandia has reported Robert Keith
and Thomas Russell are once more in control of Opticom and Fast, which
suits Fast CEO John Lervik pretty well.
Author: Per and Susanne Koch
Note: This is an archived version of Pandia's origianl article " European search engine alliance to challenge Google".