Bertelsmann Takes up Search Engine Challenge

17 January 2006

Europe's biggest media company, the Bertelsmann Group, is about to jump aboard Project Quaero - an attempt to create a multimedia internet search engine to challenge the dominance of Google and Yahoo.

The joint venture between France and Germany was announced last year to bridge the R&D gap between Europe and the US and Japan.

French funding of around €150 million ($182m; £102m) will come from the new Agency for Industrial Innovation and the country's team will be led by Thomson Media and the French National Centre for Scientific Research.

The German team has been delayed by the recent elections. However, potential members are due to assemble at the end of the week in Berlin where, according to the Financial Times newspaper, Bertelsmann's Empolis data processing subsidiary might sign up officially.

Deutsche Telekom is also reportedly a consortium member but there is a potential conflict over its links with Google.

Quaero seeks to create a search engine that can sort through audio, images and video as well as text. The explosion of video podcasting renders current multimedia search engines' reliance on written descriptions of images and video too inaccurate.

Data sourced from Financial Times online; additional content by WARC staff