Why Privacy Should Be Your Priority

The objective of this presentation is to prove that privacy is possible with search engine, and that privacy could and should be a business priority. Eric Leandri presents Qwant, a new kind of search engine.

Internet started in the late 1990’s. It was not made to collect information about everyone but only to bring information across the planet. Twenty years later, everything has changed. Companies now think it’s better to know everything about you, such as:

  • Where do you go?
  • What do you write?
  • Who are your friends?
  • What is your search habit?
  • What are your activities?
  • How to use the analytics everywhere on the web?
  • Which pages are you looking at?
  • What are your passwords?
  • What kind of applications did you installed on your phone?
  • What is your behavior on mobile devices?

The idea is to compete to get everything about the consumer. Companies use all this knowledge to sell what they want and increase their benefits by targeting you with ads, emailing, etc.

Everyone has already heard about the Cambridge Analytica scandal, or the shutting down of Google + because of the lack of security of the platform. Half of the Americans don’t trust Facebook anymore. Qwant wants to make privacy a competitive advantage and in order to do that, they decided to think about customers as citizens. The idea is to bring back trust in the search and privacy field, and to bring a solution for online search.

Qwant provides a safe search environment with respect for user’s privacy and neutral search results, meaning that everybody can search and find the same results as anyone else, regardless of their habits and behavior on the Internet. Qwant doesn’t track anyone. The company doesn’t use cookies or search history but encrypted IP addresses, so there are no targeted ads. It has its own cloud, its own data center and servers based in Europe (not under Cloud Act or Freedom Act in the US for example, or other regulations) and complies totally with the GDPR, providing data minimization (keeping no data about the user) along with privacy by design. The French company uses their own index, which is the first and biggest European index.

Eric Leandri also mentions that his company proposes a kid edition (Qwant Junior for the 6 to 12 years old) which keeps away adults’ content and violence from children. If you’re looking for Paris, you will get views of the Eiffel Tower, not pictures about the 2015 terrorist attacks.

This business models work and still bring money. From 1997 to 2004, there was no need to know the user, and search engines had no idea of who were searching, even on Google. They just brought the answer to your question, and it is still the same now with Qwant: if you are looking for an iPhone, you’ll be shown some iPhones. And if you click on the shopping part of the site, you will go directly to Fnac or Amazon, and Qwant will take money from it.

With that business model, the company is growing and counts today 160 employees. Qwant also have key investors like the Europe Investment Bank or Caisse de Dépôt. Its website belongs to the top 50 sites in Europe with more than 80 million unique visitors and a growth of 20% per month.

Qwant Search, Music, Games and Junior are the current services which can be used. In the next months, they will also come up with Qwant map, pay and more services. To summarize, this company brings Web search for people, in a social way, with freedom, privacy and trust.

Speaker: Eric LEANDRI, QWANT