EU Gives France Permission To Waste Even More Money On Mythical Google Killer

from the yo-quaero-taco-bell dept

It's been nearly two years since we pointed out that the EU's "Quaero" project appeared to be nothing more than a scam to trick clueless bureaucrats into funnelling tons of money into private companies hoping they would somehow create a "Google-killer." There were no plans. There was no website. There was no technology. There was merely a bunch of random companies all saying they would do something vague, if only the government gave them money. Well, the EU has now granted the wish, giving France permission to distribute $152 million to a bunch of companies. Note, again, that they're not giving this money to some startup that thinks it has a Google killer. In fact, everyone admits that the various companies involved all have divergent interests. In other words, this money is going into a black hole where it will be spent on whatever each company wants to spend it on. The idea that a Google-killer will emerge is laughable. Just the fact that it's been many years since the project was first proposed and they're just getting around to funding it now should give you a sense of how backwards this plan is. You don't create a Google-killer by announcing such plans, getting a bunch of big companies to line up for a handout and then taking years to actually give out way more money than is needed.


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  1.  
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    yogi, Mar 12th, 2008 @ 2:26am

    Hilarious

    Bureaucracy is a natural resource in European countries and the best thing about it is that there is no danger whatsoever of running out...

    You forgot to mention how much it cost to make the decision to throw away 152 million? How many people on how many committees discussed this for how many years?
    It's a wonder to me that Europe still has a functioning economy at all.

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 12th, 2008 @ 2:34am

    The first thing I thought when I saw "Quaero" was "queer", which I'm sure is pretty much the same for anyone.

    There is absolutely no way that this is unintentional, or that no one involved has noticed it. Maybe the EU has a sense of humour.

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 12th, 2008 @ 3:31am

    Re: Hilarious

    actually if you would know anything about bureaucracy you would know that it cost less if it is decided by the EU bureaucracy rather than by a local EU country bureaucracy.

    But don't let facts stop the usual EU bashing

     

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  4.  
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    Fabio, Mar 12th, 2008 @ 3:36am

    Search engines for multimedia do not currently work, or the search features are trivial. Quaero points to enhance these features. I do not think it is 100% correct saying it will be Google-killer. I hope it will encourage the research competition in this field

    from http://www.epractice.eu/document/482

    "Unlike the existing search engines, Quaero would allow users to conduct searches by entering images (“query images”) and audio components (“query sound clips”), and not just keywords.
    Through a process known as “image miming”, a software (supplied by LTU Technologies) that recognizes colors and shapes would be able to identify pictures and videos containing images similar to the query image. Moreover, a technique called “keyword propagation” would also be used: when Quaero would find a description-less image containing some or all elements of a properly labeled image, it would append the description from the labeled image to the unlabeled one thus ensuring faster searches. "

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 12th, 2008 @ 3:37am

    Re: Re: Hilarious

    oh and by the way, i also think that the whole project feels like a big scam by some company (just look at the freaking name, the site and all, they look like they have no business plan at all).
    so there's a lot of things wrong here but the first thing to come to mind is not exactly the way the EU function.

     

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  6.  
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    Stephane, Mar 12th, 2008 @ 4:41am

    I have worked in some EU funded projects (in framework programs), and the main goal of the participating firms is to get the money, do as little work as possible and ask for more money to continue. And when possible do some spying on the other consortium members. And of course the managers get to go to seminars in various places of Europe. But some of the billed amount is used for R&D in other internal projects, which is after all the goal of these funds.

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 12th, 2008 @ 5:02am

    Mike's Slanty View

    I'm not sure if you took the time to get past the first paragraph, but Quaero is not intended to be a killer, only a European rival to Google. Just like Yahoo, ask, altavista, etc... will never "kill" Google, does that mean investors should all back out of those companies? Heck no. There's still a lot of money to be made. Some experts are predicting BILLIONS of dollars of potential web portal/search related revenue in the next two decades. People would be stupid to not invest is such a project, however unstable it may seem. So why come down so hard on a government for trying to create jobs and generate revenue?

    All of this aside, the EU is screwed up, France sucks and the other posts are right, "Quaero" does sound a lot like "Queer."

     

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  8.  
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    Nicolas, Mar 12th, 2008 @ 5:04am

    European Projects, Schmeuropean projects

    Same experience as Stephane here.

    In all companies I have seen, getting a European Project means a hefty lumpsum with no strings attached about the way you spend it. Sometimes they ask for a report so you get an intern to spend a couple of days to write something short and send it over. Every 2 years or so you ask for more money and regardless of what you have done earlier (nobody ever read the reports you sent) you usually get it.

    The EU has granted itself the power to fund tech projects without ever thinking about getting tech-savvy people on the payroll to go get the results. In the end, most money is spent on R&D projects that would never get privately funded otherwise, so all is not lost. Still, the feeling of waste is enormous.

    Do not think this issue is only related to tech projects. About 15 years ago the EU provided large funds to Greece for their tourist industry to learn English to make them more attractive. Most hotel owners pocketed the funds and bought more land or other hotels, their staff never saw a cent of it. As a result you now get more luxurious hotels and wealthier hotel owners exploiting people who do not speak better English. The country as a whole got a little bit richer so that foreign tourists have better ways to spend their euros. Same feeling of waste and total lack of control.

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 12th, 2008 @ 5:40am

    King of the Trolls

    What is that you say? Why yes, it is true. Mike is a troll. He is always trying to start arguments, and never has a solution except for the current way does not work. He uses his own blog as documentation. He use to work in business development, but that company does not exist anymore. He must have been some business developer. Let me guess the bubble burst and you knew the current way your company did business was not working, but then you had no solutions.

     

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  10.  
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    yogi, Mar 12th, 2008 @ 5:47am

    Re: Hilarious

    My point is why the hell is the government making such a decision anyway?

    what's wrong with letting some start-up do the work? I would even venture to say that any start-up that starts from the government is dead on arrival - the EU is almost antithetical to everything that is start-up.

    And if you are looking to give money away to business just for the heck of it - why not do it by raffle so that it will be really fair?

    Now that's an idea - the raffle could be held once a week and televised across Europe.Everybody would be interested because their businesses will be involved. Ratings will be great and so will revenue from ads.

    Next step - establish a commission to study the feasibility of distributing money through a weekly raffle. the commission can commission studies to discover the cost of the commission, the cost of the raffle, the benefits of a weekly raffle as opposed to a monthly raffle, the eligibility of various parties in the raffle, the projected effect on other raffles and on the states economies,taxation on winnings from the raffle - yes or no and how much...well, you get the picture.

    Sooner or later the EU is going to grind to a halt.

     

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  11.  
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    Xslayer, Mar 12th, 2008 @ 5:47am

    Wait... are we really upset that the EU is wasting

    As everyone here seem to agree, bureaucracy is infamous for throwing money away, but if you think about it, we are taking about the EU giving the French millions to develop software it totally objects to in the first place. If you really REALLY think about it, the only way to kill google is not to use it and any software that does less than what google can offer (international usability, multi-regional customization, huge databases, fast and stable servers, multi-national sponsorship) That new software will simply be ignored and die by the wayside. Let Europe waste their money. Google will just keep on growing anf get better and better.

    X

     

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  12.  
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    DanC, Mar 12th, 2008 @ 6:44am

    Re: King of the Trolls

    So a AC troll is calling someone else a troll.

    Something tells me no one with any intelligence is going to take you seriously.

     

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  13.  
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    Daniel, Mar 12th, 2008 @ 6:54am

    Re:

    The first thing I thought when I saw "Quaero" as "queer"

    Thats probably because your an American (I'm guessing), and therefore assume everybody watches baseball and speaks English (you do realise English comes from England right?).

    How many countries in Europe speak English as a first language? Remember that Europe and the EU are not like the United States, try working out (or looking up) all the different country names and languages before you start to make smart comments.

    What else does Quaero sound like? I'm guessing off the top of my head here ... Query?

     

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  14.  
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    Overcast, Mar 12th, 2008 @ 6:58am

    That's so very nice that the 'EU Gave them permission'

    Too bad - at one time - France was it's own country.

     

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  15.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 12th, 2008 @ 7:14am

    Re: Re: King of the Trolls

    Nice, DanC, you are a troll too. That is not your real name. Nor did you include an address or a phone number.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
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    greg, Mar 12th, 2008 @ 7:33am

    Pouring Money into Black Hole

    The whole issue is very simple if one accepts that the Europeans are not really focused on creating the killer app. Their interest is in creating jobs. It is a serious mistake to view the actions of the EU through the cultural eyes of capitalistic entrepreneurs. Real entrepreneurs leave France to create their startups.

     

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  17.  
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    DanC, Mar 12th, 2008 @ 8:04am

    Re: Re: Re: King of the Trolls

    Anonymity has nothing to do with being a troll. Good try though.....(although that is my real first name, and last initial).

    Let's see...you've posted what is essentially a personal attack that has nothing to do with the topic being discussed.

    To further educate you: my responding to your posts is called "feeding a troll" and is generally a pointless endeavor, because trolls have no interest in contributing anything useful to a conversation. Instead, their sole purpose is to derail conversations with irrelevant material.

    Since responding to you is pointless, I won't be doing it again.

     

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  18.  
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    Cixelsid, Mar 12th, 2008 @ 8:20am

    Hmmm...

    So all these pointless tantrum posts directed at the EU throwing away a piddling 152 mil. Lets not talk about the millions the FBI threw away on a useless computer system last year. Or the billions US moneylenders gave to people who can't pay them back.

    Bureacracies throw away money like its toiletpaper in any country - in this case the EU... doesn't mean its going to come to a "grinding halt".

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 12th, 2008 @ 8:33am

    Re:

    You should watch the TED video's. Google has been working on search technology like that for 3+ years. Nothing new or google-killer there.

    It looks like Europe needs to learn from the US how to play the great American game of "catch up".

     

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  20.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 12th, 2008 @ 8:51am

    A good house and a good car stimulates creativity

     

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  21.  
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    napacab, Mar 12th, 2008 @ 8:59am

    Qua Ero?

    So that's line a porn search engine?

     

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  22.  
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    napac, Mar 12th, 2008 @ 9:01am

    Re: Qua Ero?

     

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  23.  
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    Aesbar, Mar 12th, 2008 @ 9:06am

    Europe is nothing like the US. In the US, politicians decide to invade countries for vague reasons. In Europe, politicians never decide anything, because they are all not really representing Europe but their own countries. I'm Dutch and I'm all for Europe, but NOT with idiot bureaucracy they have now. It's nearly as embarrassing as the monkey US president....One of the reasons many people in my country voted against the EU constitution is the fact that we send them billions of Euros each year (which for my teeny tiny country is a LOT of money) and most of it is spent on "strengthening new member states" (yeah right - see above excellent examples of Greece etc) and oh yes French and Dutch farm industry. And if they get bored with that, they decide to build airplanes the hardest possible way (Airbus).

    Although, learning how to play "catch up", I dunno. Maybe you could teach us how to borrow more money from the Asians and then spend it on houses and guns? That seems like a good trick - oh wait, it isn't.

     

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  24.  
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    Katie, Mar 12th, 2008 @ 9:29am

    "Quaero" is Latin for "I seek", cf. Spanish "yo quiero". The English words "question" and "query" also come from this root.

    That aside, this sounds like the same thing Google's been working on for about a decade. They've already mentioned searching via mobile phone cameras -- snap a picture of a restaurant, get a review of the food, etc -- as well as searching by voice and audio clips.

    I think Quaero will probably come to fruition about 5 years after Google perfects the very same technology. Honestly. And even then it would be horribly inferior.

    Look at how sophisticated Google Maps is compared to MapQuest, and realize that that whole tool is peripheral to Google's goals... Then take a gander at Android, News, Finance...

    There will never be a Google killer. When your company operates by allowing their employees to do basically anything they want, decorates the office with giant colored balls, and stuffs the smartest people in the world full of free sushi... Let's face it, they're going to do amazing things at terrifying speeds.

    Google is the new Xerox PARC, except they're turning a huge profit around it.

     

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  25.  
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    JB, Mar 12th, 2008 @ 9:32am

    Next the EU Trade Commission will fine Google because it built a better search engine than they could. Typical.

     

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  26.  
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    Jake, Mar 12th, 2008 @ 10:00am

    All this could be avoided if the EU was a bit more honest about precisely what they're trying to achieve, which is to keep European industry on an equal footing to the rest of the world with public funds -albeit not in an efficient or even very democratically accountable way- because it's the only way not to either be steamrollered by the Chinese and the USA or follow the economic model of 'whoever has the most pathetic employee-protection laws, the most rudimentary social security system and the worst balance of power between business and government rules the world'.

     

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  27.  
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    Trevlac, Mar 12th, 2008 @ 10:31am

    Re: Katie

    Look up "Sea Dragon" if you're interested in new types of searching technologies. What you were saying about taking a picture of a restaurant to get reviews is possible with something like Sea Dragon.

     

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  28.  
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    Mike (profile), Mar 12th, 2008 @ 10:34am

    Re: Mike's Slanty View

    I'm not sure if you took the time to get past the first paragraph, but Quaero is not intended to be a killer, only a European rival to Google. Just like Yahoo, ask, altavista, etc... will never "kill" Google, does that mean investors should all back out of those companies?

    I have no problem with investors funding competitors to Google.

    That's what this is though. This is pouring a ton of gov't money into an ill-defined project with a bunch of random large companies. No one has created a comeptitor to Google. None of them seem to have a real plan to do so. They're all just asking for gov't handouts.

     

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  29.  
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    R3d Jack, Mar 12th, 2008 @ 10:40am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: King of the Trolls

    I have to go with DanC on this one. Sounds like a Troll used a Flame as bait. BTW, I hadn't heard of "feeding the troll". Mod this up to 5 for informative.

     

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  30.  
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    R3d Jack, Mar 12th, 2008 @ 10:42am

    Re: Re: Hilarious

    AC is right on this one. The EU has cut the cost of making stoopid (that's right, with two "o"'s) decisions. We should all give the EU credit where credit is deserved.

     

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  31.  
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    DanC, Mar 12th, 2008 @ 11:36am

    They were supposed to have a presentation of some aspect of the "Quaero" project in January at France's Agence de l'innovation industrielle, but that agency was merged with OSEO on January 1st.

    Anyone know what, if anything, was presented? Or did the merger effectively eliminate the scheduled presentation?

     

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  32.  
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    stark raver, Mar 12th, 2008 @ 9:56pm

    Re:

    I love that you called my President a monkey. He didn't invade countries for some vague reason. I seem to recall a very long drawn out process in the UN. I realize the dutch like fighting about as much as breeding with each other, but that is still no reason to insult my president. Who else is going to fight Islamo-fascism?

    I applaud the money wasted by europe's bureaucrats. Tax payers in europe deserve to have their money wasted.

     

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  33.  
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    Peter Thomas, Mar 13th, 2008 @ 2:40am

    Re: Re:

    The War Against Terror (or T.W.A.T. as we call it) is actually empowering Islamo-fascism. Also, you have short-term memory loss, as the US govt have previously trained and funded fantatics such as that Osama fellow. Lovely.

    Yes, there was a very long drawn out process in the UN. Now for bonus points, name the country that ignored it all.

    I will agree with you on one thing, it's not a vague reason the invasion happened. Everyone knows it was done for oil. Shame it's failed, and has no chance of success.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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