Google Competitor On the Way?

Dennis Faas's picture

The European Union's executive branch has approved a grant of 120 million euros (about $166 million US) to help fund the German government's next-generation Internet search engine, code-named Theseus. (Source:

The grant will be distributed among different companies, including SAP AG and Siemens AG, as they begin research on the Theseus project. The project aims to develop "new search technologies for the next generation Internet," including "semantic technologies which try to recognize the meaning of content and place it in its proper context."

Semantic technologies are widely considered to be the next big step in the evolution of the Internet. A semantic web would receive a user request for information and automatically narrow the search results to be in line with the user's individual needs, rather than offer the user numerous pages related to various aspects about the search topic, as in Google's model. (Source:

Some expect the grant and subsequent development to craft a legitimate challenge to Google's reign as the king of search.

However, analyst Trip Chowdhry explains that although the new project could indeed be a direct Google competitor, Google will more likely cooperate with the project than go head to head with it. Chowdhry explained that Google will aim to take advantage of Theseus' capabilities to further its own operations. "I don't see this as a threat to Google," he said. "Even if they do come up with a semantic Web, Google will index it and create searches on it like it does for Wikipedia." (Source:

While $166 million is certainly not a modest sum of money, one can't help but wonder how far it will go in the complicated world of semantic web research. But if the Theseus project is able to come up with a semantic web model, it would certainly revolutionize the world of search. In a few years, Google searches may even be considered as passe and inefficient as the Dewey decimal system.

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