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How to optimize your research on the internet?

“Soon we will be looking for our research.” It is this tweet that Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet welcomed Thursday, February 14 the launch of a new search engine made in France, adding: “Good luck to #Qwant, an innovative and courageous company.”

N. Kosciusko-Morizet

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Soon we will be looking for our research. Good luck to #Qwant, an innovative and courageous French company. …


18:58 – 13 Feb 2013

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Qwant launches a French search engine

Jean Manuel Rozan, co-founder of Qwant, is the guest of the Orange Le Figaro Buzz Média. This French search engine aims to bring together the best of Google and social networks.

98 people are talking about it

Innovative, initially because unlike many start-ups in the sector, Qwant does not seek to “make the Google” nor to compete head-on with the giant Mountain View. The particularity of Qwant is precisely to produce results from the social web, where Google has chosen to ignore them. Courageous then, because even if you stand out from Google, it will not be easy to conquer a significant part of the Internet search market.

Qwant, the French search engine. Qwant, the French search engine. (FRANCETV INFO)

For fifteen years, many have burned their wings. Yahoo has thrown in the towel for a long time and even a juggernaut like Bing (Microsoft) is struggling to find its place and is reduced to aggressive advertising campaigns.

Bing Valentine.Bing Valentine. (FRANCETV INFO)

In France, Google captures nine searches out of ten when Bing reaches a 5% market share. The remaining 5% are scattered in three groups: “directories”, like Voila or Yahoo, who simply use Google indexing services to get the results back; “metamotors”, such as Seek or Innooo, which aggregate the answers of the main research sites; and “vertical” motors, very specialized. All do not have the same weight, but all will be useful in your research, provided you ask them the right questions.

No, Google is not your friend

Google is not guessed. In practice, there are still many to go to Google as we once asked the Oracle. A blog is even devoted to these “google queries” coming from another dimension, which will only very rarely lead to satisfactory answers. He borrows his name from one of them: How to become a ninja for free?

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Beyond the joke, there are simple rules to observe to start finding. If you put a question to a search engine, it’s a safe bet that it’s a question he’ll give you back. But that’s an answer you’re looking for … For example, you’ll get more results by typing “mandatory breath tests” instead of “are breathalyzers mandatory?”

This example also refers us directly to the second principle which is to proscribe research in “natural language”. Contrary to popular belief, Google is not your friend, so do not talk to him as if that’s the case. “I’m looking for a romantic restaurant in Bordeaux” is not a good search. In this sentence, only the words “restaurant”, “romantic” and “Bordeaux” are relevant, everything else will only serve to confuse the results.The “operators” who help you in your search

So you have to learn to speak like him. The Google language looks like yours, but it also uses codes called “operators”, designed to refine your searches.

The quotation mark, your best ally

The most famous operator is called by the use of quotation marks. It allows you to search for a sequence of words. For example, searching for “Francetv info” will save you all sentences where these terms appear without any link between them.

With the star, you are entitled to a joker

If you want to use these quotes, but you do not know one of the words in the search sequence, you can replace it by using the * sign. This can be very useful when searching for an expression without being sure to quote it perfectly. For example, you do not remember if Sisyphus refers to a myth or a torture? Just search for “Sisyphus”.

Put a “tilde” in your engine

A “tilde” is the Spanish sign (~) nested on the key “2” PC keyboards (“Alt n” on a Mac). It allows you to appeal to the notion of synonym in your research. In seeking “~ legend of Sisyphus”, the myth should also be flush.

Beware of spelling

If you are not sure about spelling correctly Sisyphus, or if you doubt that your sources are capable of them, you still have the sign “|” (“Alt Gr 6” on a PC), which introduces the notion of uncertainty and acts as “or”. Then look for “the myth of Sisyphus | sisife | sysiphe”.

Google is getting closer to you

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To achieve this, he constantly adds new operators who stick to your needs. By preceding your search for “define:” (always without space) you will get the definition of the searched word. Replace this operator with “site:” followed by the URL of a site, followed by the word or words to search for, and limit your investigations to a given site. New operators like “meteo:” or “cinema:” will lead Google to filter results to deliver only those that match your search domain. The full list of these special orders can be viewed directly on the Google site, as long as you know how to find it. You can also exclude a particular URL from your results and do many other amazing things.

No doubt you did not know, but with Google, for example, you always have a calculator on hand. Type “2 + 2” or any other operation in the search field and let yourself be surprised.


Why look for text if the answer is a file?

In most leading search engines, you are free to limit the results of your queries to a particular type of document. You might want to search for a Word or Excel document, a PDF, or why not a Flash movie. To achieve this, you just need to precede your query with the command “filetype:” followed by the extension of the file type.

If this file is an image, it’s even easier since Google, Bing and their competitors dedicate an entire section of their site. You already know the principle and yet you are far from imagining all the possibilities offered. For example, if you want to check the origin of an image, identify the characters in it, or make sure that no one violates your copyrights with impunity, a particular feature should delight you.

It consists of “drag and drop” from your desktop, in the Google Image search box, the file in question. In no time, the engine will not only bring up similar images, but everything related to it, for better and for worse.Go back in time, that would tempt you?

The web pages you visit are not static, they are updated regularly and this is not only true for news sites. Google offers you a handy tool to take a “picture” of a site at a given moment. Like a virtual Polaroid. This is the “cache” function.


To access it, run your Google search normally, then explore the proposed list of results. Once you have chosen the page you want, click on the gray arrow that appears to the right of the result in question. A preview of the page will appear. Under its title, click on the link “cached” to assign an address to the requested page at time T. By adding this link to your favorites, you can find this page at any time, as it was when your initial visit.

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But to really go back in time, there is an even more powerful tool. In this case, a specialized engine in archived pages, Web Archive. Enter the URL of the site of your choice (preferably a foreground site) into the proposed field, then choose the date you want to teleport. The opportunity to remember with nostalgia for the tiny start-up that was still Google in 1999.


call a specialist

The general search engines are perfect for everyday searches, but as long as the vein that concerns you is of a deeper kind, you can use a “vertical” search engine. The term includes all these specialized tools that will be your most faithful allies when it comes to optimizing the relevance of the results of your research in a given registry.

One could cite IconFinder for graphic designers out of inspiration or Wolfram Alpha, the engine specialized in complex scientific questions. In total, more than a hundred engines and directories are available to monomaniacs of all kinds, in registers as varied as the news, health, science and even cooking. To find them, a horizontal search engine, like Bing or Google, will do just fine.


It is too early to tell if Qwant will fall into this category. Pending the arrival of Graph Search, the engine developed by and for Facebook, the new French search site is the first engine “socially connected”.

It puts on the same level the web, the live (in other words the news), the social (it takes again the last public messages related to the subject of research on Facebook, Twitter and Google+), and the shopping, through four main columns. The photos and videos overhang all and this seems to be enough to reinvent the way we surf.

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