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[dupe] Qwant – An alternative to Google (qwant.com)
72 points by ahsanejaz 63 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 71 comments




I can't remember having seen it before and was really happy to see it.

Do we have to call it a dupe whrn it's 10 months old and still super interesting?


The cutoff is about a year: https://news.ycombinator.com/newsfaq.html.


It loads much slower than Google or DDG for me. The search bar jumps up and down the page as the huge animated logo loads. Then when you click the search bar, it jumps to the top of the page again. It's not a great UX.

Qwant Lite (https://lite.qwant.com/) loads much faster initially and the UI doesn't jump around, but it's slower to load search results. It also features the objectively false tagline, "The only search engine that respects your privacy."

I think I'll stick with DuckDuckGo, thanks.


Qwant is based in France, so I suspect the issue is their servers' location. For me it loads just as fast as Google & DDG.

I have a old schoolmate working there who's always been genuinely interested in protecting other people's privacy. To me that tagline is just sleazy marketing.


I highly recommend Searx. Not a great name, but it's a meta-search engine that returns results from many search engines. It's self-hostable, and there are tons of different instances to choose from.

All the benefits of using Google, DDG, StackOverflow, and all sorts of different search engines without the privacy issues.

https://asciimoo.github.io/searx/


I've been using Qwant for a number of months now and the results are nearly as good as Google and vastly better than DDG.


It loads as fast or faster for me, probably because I'm in Europe.

Pretty cool search engine, my tests so far give results in the same ballpark as DuckDuckGo.


Yes, it loads much much slower than Google or DDG


I remember a conversation I had with an engineer working on Bing around the time of the Microsoft/Yahoo deal... their core metric was the number of searches where they matched 8 out of 10 or more of Google's results on the first page of the search.

Qwant isn't even that close. The results are absolutely poor across a number of different queries.


In some sense that's kind of the point right? If Qwant isn't tracking user information than we _expect_ the results to be different, since the engine doesn't have a chance to build up an information bubble about its users.


> If Qwant isn't tracking user information than we _expect_ the results to be different

We expect the answers to be correct. Google can use everything it knows about me to turn an abstract term like "giants" into SF Giants or New York Giants, but when I explicitly enter "san francisco giants" as part of a query and still get poor results, that is a failure.


If 2 pages have similar topics and coverage, and 1 is ranked higher on Google and the other higher on Qwant, who is "correct"? Search is a fuzzy thing, and while some results might be objectively, I challenge your notion of correctness.


There can be a number of queries where no context is required to give a relevant answer, because the query carries enough context. E.g.

    html5 working draft
    when new york city was founded
    aapl ticker
    us consulates in germany
    can i haz cheezeburger
    there is no spoon
    tyger tyger burning bright
    hurricane florence
I did not try any of these, though.


Different is fine, however I certainly don't expect my search results to be atrocious.


If tracking is going to give me much better results, seems worth it. Would a better positioning be "safe" tracking (whatever that would exactly mean)?

I'm not sure matching Google, but a little worse, is best objective.


> Qwant isn't even that close. The results are absolutely poor across a number of different queries.

Don't know what you tried, I just tried it on a number of searches like:

Logging framework .net

Edward Snowdon (misspelled)

Space shuttle

Not only was it fast but it delivered good results as well.

Will try it next week with some of the stuff Google struggles with now: respecting when I use doublequotes etc.

Edit: the speed difference might be related to the fact that I am in Europe.


> their core metric was the number of searches where they matched 8 out of 10 or more of Google's results on the first page of the search.

That's a really defeatist way of entering a new market--"our competitor is the gold standard, so instead of trying to be better than them, we'll measure our success by how closely we can imitate them". It's like Pepsi and Coca-Cola, which I also always found strange. Why advertise Pepsi as tasting just like Coke? Why not advertise it as tasting _better?_

> Qwant isn't even that close.

I don't think that, by itself, says anything about the quality of their search results.


> Why advertise Pepsi as tasting just like Coke? Why not advertise it as tasting _better?_

That's exactly what they did. Remember the Pepsi Challenge?


This is weird--I remember Pepsi commercials with a blind taste test on TV when I was a kid. Oddly, I distinctly remember them framing it as people not being able to tell the difference, and that being seen as a good thing. But now I can't find any reference to those commercials or that marketing angle anywhere.

Now you've got me wondering if I misunderstood the commercial as a child and have had a tainted perception of Pepsi's marketing my whole life because of it.


Yes, the whole point was they were given two unlabeled samples, and they preferred the one that ended up being Pepsi.

This is not surprising as Pepsi is much, much sweeter so in small doses it does tend to be preferred. However, when given a full glass, many go back to preferring Coke.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ghMYzo0rgrw (1983)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QRQxzQGwEcI (1977)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QK26LU5ZhmE (1982)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8YHFJB72vi8 (2003)


The story of what went wrong with New Coke was that Coca Cola's research was based entirely on sip tests and people preferred the slightly sweeter taste. I read in Malcolm Gladwell's "Blink" and people ultimately didn't want to drink an entire can of the stuff. This went down as one of the most famous blunders in market research history.

https://www.printrunner.com/blog/sip-testing-potential-emplo...

https://www.coca-colacompany.com/stories/what-new-coke-conti...


One aside that might bear mentioning: Coca-Cola Classic wasn't. It was when they slipped in the change from cane sugar to corn syrup in the US market.


That's a fascinating (and probably harmless) misperception. :)


"Show HN" is for something you've made. Since this site has been posted many times before, I'm assuming that's not the case and have taken "Show HN" out of the title above. Please read the rules: https://news.ycombinator.com/showhn.html.


My first load it took 3 clicks to hit the search bar as new images and links loaded under the cursor.


THIS.

I don't know if there is a name for this kind of user-hostile behavior, but I wish more people paid attention to it.


Sure it provides search results that seem fine - but why use this over duckduckgo?

I also really don't like the lack of data density. The news doesn't make any sense in most cases.


> but why use this over duckduckgo?

If history showed us anything is that we need a lot of competition in this area


I'm guessing the parent is asking "what's their Qwant's edge?". Competition isn't only providing the same product. Usually one will have a certain edge or do something another doesn't. DDG's edge is privacy. Qwant's edge is... European? Does that make a difference?


I got that, I think it's important to support competitors in this space even if they don't have an edge (yet?). At the very least they get some feedback and data to improve their core. Maybe one of them will find new revenue models that aren't prone to abuse or corruption. Honestly I think Google only got worse in the last few years for me, e.g. certain search operators getting ignored or not working as they used to, image search completely broken and screwed by pinterest & co. I'm now forced to use several search engines to limit the context I used to get for free.


Qwant is based in Europe, so no matter what future qwant might decide to do, they will always be bounded by European legislation.


If they don't track any user data and have an excellent reputation then why would I care about legislation?


They could be legally obliged not to link to certain pages, depending on your geography.

They also could have harder time linking to news sources.

They may have some advantages by not being bound by US legislation, though, but I can't easily name any such advantage.


Because qwant, at some point in the future, can't suddenly decide that "not tracking users" gets in the way of business opportunities and retract their stance on privacy.


Then I'll switch services. And neither of those seem to be because of regulation.


The "X" icon in the "Switch to Qwant" popup on the right side doesn't work, meaning I can't close that box. (desktop Chrome 68.0.3)


https://lite.qwant.com/

is a more familiar (and in my opinion, better) interface.


This should be the default instead of that other mess that looks like the Digg landing page.


This will offend most graphic designers out there, but could you make the landing and search results page a simple and bare bones as possible, with no javascript, no animations, and no dynamic loading of content?

I think the thing you should be targeting here is getting the website and initial results to load in a single TCP packet. Because right now it doesn't feel like google. It feels like bing. (Except that somehow bing loads faster than qwant, maybe due to better CDS?)


"don't use cookies"

if you go in local storage there's a suspicious h_user with a numeric id

sure it's not technically a cookie, but still..


It actually is not bad. I did couple searches. All came up fine. The results are relevant.


TBF I read the comments here and didn't expect much but it's not that bad.

No delay, and a search for 'kubernetes' brought up kubernetes.io at the top of the listings bar the top bit with the 'freshness' thing, which I don't understand tbf.

Second search for 'kubernetes ingress' brought up the kubernetes.io concepts page for ingress - which is better than what I get from Google occasionally, which is the actual doc page for 3 versions ago.

From this cursory search it isn't that bad. I generally swerve towards Google on most things, but this has been a better experience than DDG or Bing for me.


Out of interest have they got their own crawler, or is this a new one? I've not seen anything notably new in my logs recently.


Tried searching for my own Steam Community profile, and it gave me pornography. I've had similar experiences with DuckDuckGo. As much as I'd like to switch from Google, there really is no better alternative.


I have to ask: is this a case of the search engine being at fault, or the search terminology being problematic? I use DDG as my primary search and I've never accidentally received pornography.


My username is just my middlename plus an underscore. It's not a common username at all. I've tried this on multiple computers, different browsers, after clearing cookies & cache.

I believe it's the searchengine. There is no reason why the query, 'steamcommunity <my_username_here>' shouldn't return my profile. And after investigating the porn links, I don't see why Qwant would direct me there.


same here


Unfortunately this is probably due to your steam handle's text's primary usage online is some sort of pornography. DDG is giving you the actual results, whereas Google has instead figured out that you ARE the steam handle and therefore tailors the results to you.

What you should be concerned about is that other people searching that handle, even in Google (with the nanny settings off), might be getting porn.

I haven't switched off Google yet for a variety of reasons, but I occasionally use DDG to have a better idea of what the "real" search results are for a term.


My username is just my middlename plus an underscore. It's not a common username at all. I've tried this on multiple computers, different browsers, after clearing cookies & cache.

I believe it's the searchengine. There is no reason why the query, 'steamcommunity <my_username_here>' shouldn't return my profile. And after investigating the porn links, I don't see why Qwant would direct me there.


I can't tell from a quick perusal: does it do its own crawling and manage its own index? Or is it more like DDG, just using Bing, Yandex, etc?


This help center entry[1] suggests it's a combination of their own crawlers and Bing.

[1]: https://help.qwant.com/help/overview/how-does-qwant-index-th...


I've always wondered: Why not incorporate search into fundamental internet architecture, like DNS?

Web servers could index everything they serve, and clients could use a standardized protocol to query their neighbors (and their neighbors and so on) to look for all instances of a phrase or image.

Throw in some distributed machine learning into the mix to make everything sound cutting-edge.


You'll have spammers 1 minute after something like this goes live. A search engine isn't only about finding things with your key word in it. It's also about rejecting low quality content you're probably not interested in. The former is the easier job. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Precision_and_recall


This could be useful to make building search engines simpler.

But the hard problem in a search engine is not crawling and indexing, it's ranking and filtering.


It's a bit more complicated then that ;) Indexing sure, might be done per server. But what about, for example, ranking?


Because that is how you get nothing but spam.


If any competitor wants me to switch from DDG, I need a bang replacement. You are not Google. Everyone knows it and no one expects the same quality of results.

If you don't give me an easy option to switch to google or something similar or tell you where exactly to look for results, you are not an option (for me)



Awesome, I'll try it out :)

They should really make those more visible :)


Very primitive. Does not work with most high frequency n-grams, and I tried a bunch from the top 5K. "Best hacker fare website" does not highlight "fares" in titles, "hacker fare" is not detected as a phase, so I get basically gibberish.


To be fair, I, as a human, do not know what a "hacker fare website" is.


But Google does. The first link on Google explains what they are.


This does look interesting, but I do wish you'd publish more code. Currently this seems to follow the same model as DuckDuckGo by publishing a few bits[0], like Instant Answers, but leaving the main code non-free, rather than, say, Searx[1] that's fully free.

Without that, I don't see Qwant as something that distinguishes itself from other search engine companies, and is not something I'd recommend to anyone.

Also, I think you should perhaps reconsider whether it's a good idea to have Donald Trumps face on your front page, no?

[0]: https://github.com/qwant

[1]: https://github.com/asciimoo/searx


I hadn't heard about searx before. It's great. I've been a long time startpage user. Searx is built in a similar spirit, but better in all aspects, or at least those I care about.


> Also, I think you should perhaps reconsider whether it's a good idea to have Donald Trumps face on your front page, no?

"Our algorithms display the people who are most talked about by the media. It is not the result of an editorial choice by Qwant." This shows when you hover over the (i) on the personalities. I sincerely hope they keep it this way, as we have enough internet outlets letting us know what their politics are. I'm even a bit dismayed they have to disclaimer it, and I have doubts that disclaimer would even exist if DT was not the first person pictured.


> Also, I think you should perhaps reconsider whether it's a good idea to have Donald Trumps face on your front page, no?

I'm going to make a charitable guess and says that's probably due to news articles and search hits more than any political leanings.


It took ~20 seconds for the page to load...


looks like av.com of years ago.

main interface is horrible, not gonna default to "lite" just to use a thing.


I was using this but it didn't work well. They seem to have some performance issues when you search often, like 5 times in a minute and stuff like that.


I sure like the search result settings (lanugage and search results for which country), but it doesn't show nudes in the image results. My theory is that a search engine that doesn't show nudes on default, will not be able to gain wide spread usage.




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