Qwant is a European search engine that respects your privacy. I learned about it from a Twitter thread. The European Processor Initiative announced last week that their first RiscV test chip samples were delivered and booted successfully. I tweeted that I would be happy to see not just European CPUs but also European software services, alternatives to Google, Facebook, LinkedIn and others. Someone responded that a search engine is already available: https://www.qwant.com/
First, I did a couple of searches on the Qwant website. It was fast, gave relevant search results, there were no stupid ads, the links were not redirects, so it was love at first sight. Next, I wanted to replace Google with Qwant as my default search provider. My browser of choice is Firefox. Qwant is not yet available in the list of search providers, but luckily there is a Firefox extension, which can make Qwant your default search provider. So I switched to Qwant and never looked back ever since :-)
- Fast. You might have heard the expression “Google-like speed”. Qwant is faster.
- No ads. On Google and other search engines, the first few hits are usually paid ads, which sometimes are almost indistinguishable from real results. There are no ads on Qwant.
- No redirects. If you find something, you get a real link for it, not a redirect. There is no slowdown and you can copy and paste the results without being tracked.
- More relevant results.
- It is not localized. I am Hungarian, but I am annoyed by localization. I prefer en_US everywhere. My browser is set to en_US, but Google and other search engines do not respect that. Qwant does.
- No suggestions while typing my query. Less network traffic, more privacy.
Room for improvement
- I do not speak French. Qwant is Made in France, and parts of the website are only available in French.
- Some spelling mistakes are automagically corrected, just like by Google. However, it is done silently and there is no way to search with the original spelling (which is sometimes the right spelling).
- There is also a maps part, but it is a lot more limited than Bing or Google Maps. It has no satellite images, it does not show districts within cities, etc. However, as data is coming from OpenStreetMap, parts of its maps feature are more detailed and up-to-date than other maps services.
Ever since I use uBlock Origin in my main browser, my Google News feed started to show less and less relevant results. Now that I stopped using Google for searching, articles listed in Google News are almost completely irrelevant. Google cannot profile me as good as it did previously. I guess this is something I can live with :-)
Now, that I see that there is a viable alternative to Google Search here in Europe, I wonder what other services are available. Email, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. If you know any good European alternatives, let me know! You can reach me on Twitter or LinkedIn: