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December 25, 2006

Quaero, the French Challenger to Google Bites the Dust

As is the usual form for a high profile publicly funded projects with dubious political motives as its driver, Quaero has died at the hand of its own politicians. Germans and French politicians have fallen out over undisclosed issues, and are parting ways. Unsurprisingly the high rhetoric and principals which launched the project have not survived the self interest of the politicians running the program.

A spokeswoman at the French Agency for Industrial Innovation said it was continuing with the project to build a search engine called “Quaero” that would be able to index not only text but also photos and videos.

Some German firms would still be involved in that project, despite the withdrawal of others to work on the separate German-developed engine called “Theseus” that would be more focused on analysing text. “There will be a French project and a German project, and as they are not working in the same areas, they will not be rivals but complementary to each other —there will be two programmes instead of one,” she said Friday. Germany to work on their own search engine called ?Theseus?

Let me stand on my soap box and say again: Publicly funded projects have good intentions, bad politics and bad economics. Private, market funded projects have "bad" profit motives for intentions, good politics and good economics.

In my opinion, entrepreneurs and venture partners, with a profit motive, are a better vehicle to improve Europe's competitiveness in technology. the €600m assigned to Quaero are being wasted by this committee driven project.

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December 22, 2006

Hispavista launches free video service for the spanish market

spanish free - video gratis
Hispavista, portfolio company, launches new free video service for the spanish market. Fully web2.0 compliant, the team led by Jon Elosegui, has put together tag clouds, RSS feeds and social voting and filtering functions.

Three days after launch, two email marketing campaigns later, we have over one thousand video clips uploaded. There is nothing quite like having a database of several million opt-in users for launching a viral marketing campaign. Needless to say the User Generated Content editing team, which currently covers galeon.com our free web page service, have had their hands full with pornographic video clips. The new lesson is User Generated Censorship. The team has implemented a "one complaint, you are out policy". This morning after reviewing click-stream and user generated voting and complaints, the team has deemed social censorship reliable. Nice result.

The team has been pulling all-nighters for the past week, and the coffee machine has also borne the brunt of the effort. My personal favorite (in spanish)

[Disclosure: Jon Elosegui is my brother, and we are invested in Hispavista.]

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