a journal of a researcher

Monday, May 01, 2006


Quaero is one of the six innovation projects announced by French government. The other five are environment protection for chemistry industry, mobile TV, automatic subway, energy saving resident building and hybrid automobile.

Quaero is a Web search engine to be released at the end of this year. Here is information from Wikipedia.

Quaero (I seek in Latin) is the name given to the project of a European Internet search engine, a project to which Thomson, France Télécom, Siemens AG (replacing Deutsche Telekom in January 2006), Thales, Bertin Technologies, Exalead, Jouve, Synapse Développement, LTU Technologies, Vecsys and Empolis are participating, as well as many research institutes such as the Inria, the Inra, CNRS, Clips Imag, RWTH Aachen and the University of Karlsruhe and providers of content such as INA or Studio Hamburg.

Quaero was announced by Jacques Chirac during the French-German ministerial conference of Reims in April 2005, and will be officially launched in early 2006 by the Agence de l'innovation industrielle (AII).

Quaero is not intended to be a text-based search engine but is mainly meant for multimedia search. The search engine will utilize techniques for recognizing, transcribing, indexing, and automatic translation of audiovisual documents and it will operate in several languages. There is also mention of automatic recognition and indexing of images.

According to an article in The Economist, Quaero will allow users to search using a "query image", not just a group of keywords. In a process known as "image mining", software that recognises shapes and colours will be used to look for and retrieve still images and video clips that contain images similar to the query image. (The software is supplied by LTU Technologies.) A technique called "keyword propagation" will be used so that when Quaero finds a descriptionless image which contains elements of or completely matches a properly labelled image, it will append the description from the labelled image to the unlabelled one. This will ensure faster searches and a definite enrichment of the web, also linguistically, as the primary interface and query terms will be in French and German.

As France will be researching image-searching, Germany will be advancing voice clip and sound media searches, with the intention of transcribing their content to text, and translating it to other languages. And will also allow for "query sound clips" following the paradigm of the "query image" mentioned above.

It hopes to rival the world leaders in internet search Yahoo, MSN, AskJeeves and, most importantly, Google. Already it has been mentioned that Google has put the development of multimedia search technology in their as-soon-as-possible category. Google already provides a French language based search engine, google.fr. The launch of Windows Vista will also have language specific versions of Microsoft Live with integrated and rebranded MSN search capabilities.


  • Actually, all Microsoft products, all the way back to the DOS days (but maybe not the very first versions) supported French, and Microsoft has always a French-localized version of their web sites.

    There are many reasons for this, but one of them is that governments, like the Canadian government, are required to support both French and English, so they can't buy something that hasn't been locazized to French.

    I also didn't get the same buzz from Quaero. To me, it seems like a simple research program that got lots of funding. It is not a company or anything close to it.

    By Blogger Daniel Lemire, at 2:52 PM  

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