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Cliqz pulls the plug on a European anti-tracking alternative to Google search

Cliqz, a Munch-based anti-tracking browser with private investigation cooked in that has sought to offer a local alternative to Google powered by its own search index, is been closed down — claiming this arm of its business has been blindsided by the coronavirus crisis.

Today was not huge. We closed parts of @cliqz& our dream of an independent, private search engine: https :// t.co/ S4XI0LhjVl If you’re looking for tech folks: Ping me. Cliqzers are among the best, parties that can do stuff& punch practice above their value. The @cliqz squad is amazing

— Marc Al-Hames (@ MarcAlHames) April 29, 2020

The bigger challenge is certainly participating in a market so dominated by Google.

In Europe, where the tech giant’s search engine dictations a marketshare approaching 95%, trying to lure consumers to an alternative ecosystem is difficult at the best of goes, and a pandemic is certainly not that.

” We didn’t realize a pandemic coming ,” Cliqz wrote in a farewell blog post yesterday.” We didn’t expect that a virus could have impact on Cliqz. And even precisely one and a half a few months ago, we absolutely underestimated what this would do to the economy and even more so to the political priorities. It became clear to us in the last weeks, that all political initiatives to create an independent European digital infrastructure have been stopped or shelved for years. Covid-1 9 is overshadowing everything. This is not a climate where we will have any meaningful discussion about a public funding of a mixture like Cliqz .”

It’s been a long road for Cliqz, which was founded back in 2008 — initially focused on German-speaking groceries. The browser was a fork of Mozilla’s Firefox, and Cliq went on to take investment from Mozilla, in 2016, when it was eyeing expanding to more markets.

In 2017 it acquired the Ghostery anti-tracking tool, which had around 8 million customers at the time, with the aim of blending algorithmic and blocklist anti-tracking approaches. But the wider challenge for Cliqz’s browser+ pursuit endeavour was not a lack of tech but certain difficulties of construct broad endorse for its alternative approach.

The farewell blog post says the company failed to raise enough awareness among mainstream web customers to convince them to step off Alphabet’s beaten direction. But it’s also true-blue that, in recent years, mainstream browsers ought to have roasting in anti-tracking and steadily upping their own splashy privacy claims.

Even Google has said it will phase out third party cookie tracking in its Chrome browser — so the available space for’ easy’ differentiation around privacy is shrinking. Unless you can clearly and powerfully articulated key technological subtlety and complex wider market dynamics related to how user data is legislated around in the background.

There is also ongoing regulatory failing in Europe around privacy, despite a recently updated data protection framework, with many national guardians failing to grasp the nettle of rampant forbidden online moving.

The lack of GDPR enforcement against major tech and adtech pulpits too makes there’s been less succour for those occupations that are manufacturing privacy respecting choices than they might have been led to expect, having read the rules on paper.

” We are impossible to start beings indeed aware of the problem; we failed to reach a scale that would allow our search engine to be self-financing ,” Cliqz writes.” We have reached several hundred thousand daily users. But — and this is the disadvantage of running our own technology — this is not enough to run a search engine, to cover our expenses. And most of all, we failed to convince the political stakeholders, that Europe desperately needs an own independent digital infrastructure .”

While the Cliqz browser and investigation is being shuttered, the company is not closing down exclusively — and a spokesman substantiated Ghostery will continue.

Cliqz investor, Hubert Burda Media, which holds a majority stake in the business, said Thursday that the resulting ” restructuring” of the business will affect 45 employees –” for whom individual answers are currently being sought “.

” The 100% Cliqz subsidiary Ghostery, foreman by Jeremy Tillman, will continue to bundle Cliqz’s expertise in the area of anti-tracking ,” it wrote.” In addition, a crew of experts will be formed from Cliqz, which will take care of technical issues such as artificial intelligence, examination and the influence of technology on media .”

Burda added that it’s looking at a probable amalgamation of Cliqz’s MyOffrz unit — aka the division that had sought to monetize use of the anti-tracking browser via contextually targeted( and thus privacy feelings) ads.

In a wider statement on the restructuring, Burda CEO Paul-Bernhard Kallen said: “We have invested in Cliqz for years because we believe that Europe needs its own digital infrastructure to stay fit for the future. Without the necessary political structures at European statu for this, however, we will not be able to overcome the predominance of the tech heavyweights from the USA and China. In addition, the Corona pandemic is unlikely to lead to a far-reaching innovation program in Europe in the foreseeable future, so that we can no longer drive this road alone. I very much regret this because the basic idea of demonstrating a counterweight to the USA and China in the European hunting sector is still the right one .”

Read more: feedproxy.google.com

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