Auf Wiedersehen, Quaero!

After nearly two years of media buzz, Germany has called it quits for Quaero, the European search engine. In April 2005, French president Jacques Chirac and then German chancellor Gerhard Schroeder announced the multibillion-euro project, a public-private venture funded by telecoms and governments from both countries.  Quaero, which means “I seek” in Latin, was the ...

605136_060807_quaero5.jpg
605136_060807_quaero5.jpg

After nearly two years of media buzz, Germany has called it quits for Quaero, the European search engine. In April 2005, French president Jacques Chirac and then German chancellor Gerhard Schroeder announced the multibillion-euro project, a public-private venture funded by telecoms and governments from both countries.  Quaero, which means "I seek" in Latin, was the most prominent and best-funded of international search engine projects meant to compete with Google.

But when Angela Merkel was elected chancellor in September 2005, she failed to show the same enthusiasm for the project as her predecessor. And over the past year, the Germans were said to favor the development of a next-generation text-based search engine, while the French preferred a more multimedia approach. Finally last week, Europe's largest country withdrew its support. The French vow to continue plugging away, but how long will it be until they realize that the wheel has already been invented?

After nearly two years of media buzz, Germany has called it quits for Quaero, the European search engine. In April 2005, French president Jacques Chirac and then German chancellor Gerhard Schroeder announced the multibillion-euro project, a public-private venture funded by telecoms and governments from both countries.  Quaero, which means “I seek” in Latin, was the most prominent and best-funded of international search engine projects meant to compete with Google.

But when Angela Merkel was elected chancellor in September 2005, she failed to show the same enthusiasm for the project as her predecessor. And over the past year, the Germans were said to favor the development of a next-generation text-based search engine, while the French preferred a more multimedia approach. Finally last week, Europe’s largest country withdrew its support. The French vow to continue plugging away, but how long will it be until they realize that the wheel has already been invented?

Christine Y. Chen is a senior editor at Foreign Policy.

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