Germany opts out of search engine project

January 3, 2007

The German government has confirmed that it is not participating in a multi-million dollar project to build a European search engine rivaling Google.

Participants said Germany pulled out because of a disagreement with France over the project's basic design, the International Herald Tribune said. French participants said they would continue to develop the search engine, possibly with funding assistance from the European Union.

German officials said they would concentrate on a smaller domestic research effort.

The project -- called Quaero, meaning "I seek" in Latin -- was introduced in April 2005 by French President Jacques Chirac former German chancellor Gerhard Schroder, as a European response to the U.S. search engine giant Google. But when Schroder was defeated at the polls and Christian Democratic Angela Merkel took office, the decision was made to abandon the project.

Germany and France initially discussed committing $1.3 billion to $2.6 billion to Quaero over five years. The project was to have been paid for by the French and German governments, with contributions from technology companies in the two countries.

One observer said he wasn't sure whether France alone could sustain momentum behind Quaero or secure the funding from the European Union.

Copyright 2007 by United Press International

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