Josu Jon Imaz
“Qwant was born from a conviction: You shouldn’t become the product,” Jean-Claude Ghinozzi, the French search engine’s president, tells Business Insider. With Google increasingly under the microscope for the amount of data it collects on users, the privacy-first search engine, which launched in Paris in 2013, is being trumpeted as a way of rewriting the established norms for search.
It's proving a difficult fight.
“The biggest challenge has been to change the mindset of people and getting them to realise that they didn’t have to surrender their fundamental rights to get the full benefit of the power of search,” Ghinozzi says.
But today it’s the fourth-largest search engine in France, with more than 5 million users, and looks set to grow with key developments. The French political administration is moving over to Qwant, rather than Google, this year, and the search engine is the default tool for those with Huawei P40 phones in France.
Lobbying has pushed Qwant onto the list of options users can pick in the Microsoft Edge browser (Ghinozzi’s past as general manager in the retail, sales, and marketing division for Microsoft in France may have helped) and Samsung’s Internet Browser.
“Building a strong position in the search market is a tough fight and success takes time,” he says. But Qwant is getting people to rethink search.