Qwant – An alternative to Google

(qwant.com)

72 points | by ahsanejaz 12 days ago

22 comments

  • dang 11 days ago
  • jamesgeck0 11 days ago

    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.

    • jmcomets 11 days ago

      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.

      • ChristianBundy 11 days ago

        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/

        • timbit42 11 days ago

          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.

          • 13415 11 days ago

            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.

            • singularity2001 11 days ago

              Yes, it loads much much slower than Google or DDG

            • dsl 11 days ago

              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.

              • zeugmasyllepsis 11 days ago

                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.

                • dsl 11 days ago

                  > 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.

                  • gleenn 11 days ago

                    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.

                  • nine_k 11 days ago

                    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.
                    • vntok 11 days ago

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

                      • pbreit 11 days ago

                        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.

                      • eitland 11 days ago

                        > 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.

                        • pluto9 11 days ago

                          > 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.

                          • TylerE 11 days ago

                            > 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?

                            • pluto9 11 days ago

                              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.

                      • dang 11 days ago

                        "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.

                        • zmmille2 11 days ago

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

                          • metalliqaz 11 days ago

                            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.

                            • 11 days ago
                              [deleted]
                          • citilife 12 days ago

                            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.

                            • c487bd62 11 days ago

                              > but why use this over duckduckgo?

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

                              • godelski 11 days ago

                                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?

                                • c487bd62 11 days ago

                                  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.

                              • craigsmansion 11 days ago

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

                                • dmix 11 days ago

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

                                  • nine_k 11 days ago

                                    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.

                                    • craigsmansion 11 days ago

                                      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.

                                      • dmix 11 days ago

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

                                      • 11 days ago
                                        [deleted]
                                  • hamslamwich 11 days ago

                                    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)

                                    • craigsmansion 11 days ago

                                      https://lite.qwant.com/

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

                                      • overcast 11 days ago

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

                                      • garmaine 11 days ago

                                        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?)

                                        • LoSboccacc 11 days ago

                                          "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..

                                          • ww520 11 days ago

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

                                            • sofaofthedamned 11 days ago

                                              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.

                                              • sofaofthedamned 11 days ago

                                                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.

                                              • keb_ 11 days ago

                                                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.

                                                • fcarraldo 11 days ago

                                                  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.

                                                  • keb_ 6 days ago

                                                    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.

                                                    • metalliqaz 11 days ago

                                                      same here

                                                    • garmaine 11 days ago

                                                      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.

                                                      • keb_ 6 days ago

                                                        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.

                                                    • losvedir 11 days ago

                                                      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?

                                                    • Razengan 11 days ago

                                                      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.

                                                      • dividuum 11 days ago

                                                        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

                                                        • nine_k 11 days ago

                                                          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.

                                                          • mciancia 11 days ago

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

                                                            • dsl 11 days ago

                                                              Because that is how you get nothing but spam.

                                                            • Semaphor 11 days ago

                                                              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)

                                                            • arihant 11 days ago

                                                              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.

                                                              • fenwick67 11 days ago

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

                                                                • arihant 11 days ago

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

                                                              • hjek 12 days ago

                                                                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

                                                                • dmos62 11 days ago

                                                                  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.

                                                                  • cabaalis 11 days ago

                                                                    > 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.

                                                                    • drivingmenuts 12 days ago

                                                                      > 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.

                                                                    • sdinsn 11 days ago

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

                                                                      • jvagner 11 days ago

                                                                        looks like av.com of years ago.

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

                                                                        • 11 days ago
                                                                          [deleted]
                                                                        • some_account 12 days ago

                                                                          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.

                                                                          • progfix 11 days ago

                                                                            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.