With Europeans, and particularly the EU, growing increasingly weary of search giant Google, there have been calls for a viable, independent alternative. Qwant is working to be that alternative. With ‘security, privacy, and no tracking’ as their tagline, they’ve embraced net neutrality and have achieved a growing core of loyal users. Founded by Jean Manuel Rozan, Eric Léandri, and Patrick Constant, they more than tripled their search requests from 507 millions in 2013 to 1.6 billion in 2014. Believing strongly in the potential of an alternative search solution, media group Axel Springer bought a 20% stake in Qwant mid-last year.
Qwant’s new look
They’ve just launched their new site which focuses on giving users a more intuitive, visual and dynamic search experience. Their newly designed UX looks to improve the search experience by offering users multiple types of search results at a time, such as news, web, images, social and videos, all in a colorful and visual way. It also deviates from Google’s search results approach, presenting search results via a infinite scroll rather than the bottom of the screen, ‘results categorized by number/ranking approach’. Users are also just one click away from shopping, which is not only important for the user’s experience but also for Qwant as shopping, and namely referral revenue, is at the core of their business model. Qwant is now available in 16 languages and 25 countries with more, undoubtedly, to come.
Although this big UX change is clearly rooted in testing with users, it remains to be seen how users will respond. Google’s minimalist approach to both their search page and how they display results, has largely been followed by most of their top competitors. There’s likely a reason for this. In will be interesting to see if a broad base of users will take to this alternative approach.
Introducing Qwant Junior
In addition to their new UX, they’ve also announced that they’ll soon be launching a Qwant for kids, named Qwant Junior. Qwant Junior will be launched in September to coincide with the start of the school year in France. As with Qwant, Qwant Junior will incorporate a colorful UX and highly level of security. However, as it’s end-users will ultimately be children, it takes more of an education oriented approach to sesarch and integrates a high-level of parental / educator controls. These controls will offer parents and teachers an ability to not only control which sites their kids or students have access too, but also control this in real-time via a dedicated interface.
France, and particularly the French education system, will be their first route-to-market for Qwant Junior, serving as an ideal environment to better understand the role of Qwant Junior for children and in the educational process before rolling it out more broadly. Most search engines now offer some level of parental controls. However, something that gives parents and teachers the ability to easily block content they believe their kids or students shouldn’t have access to is likely to be welcomed.