“The dream of an open search engine” I Spektrum.de

OpenWebSearch.eu was portrayed in German science magazine Spektrum.de 

Read our short summary of the article highlighting the project goals and milestones:

The article is titled „The dream of an open search engine“.
What follows is a thorough look into why Europe desperately needs a web index of its own and how the OWS.EU project that is funded by Horizon Europe currently operates across six European countries in a collaborative manner.  The project comprises 14 partners – including Supercomputing Centres, Universities and Non-Profit & Tech Associations. The goal: Building a European Open Web Index prototype as a basis for European digital sovereignty.

„So far, 1.3 billion URLs in 185 languages, totaling 60 terabytes, have been crawled and indexed“ states OWS.EU project lead Michael Granitzer from the University of Passau in the article.

Quite a milestone, considering that the Horizon Europe funded project is currently only mid-term into its timeline and already taking on tangible shape.

Will OWS.EU create a Search Engine that can compete with existing giants such as Google and Bing?

The OWS.EU project will certainly also develop its own search offerings, but only as prototypes to show what is possible. The aim is not to compete directly with Google. “It’s about enabling diversity in the search market in the first place. We provide the search index that partners can use, whether commercially or non-commercially.” says Michael Granitzer.

A variety of search engine types could be implemented in the future, e.g. Vertical Search Engines that focus on special topics of interest or Argument-Search that can deliver pros and cons for specific search queries.

Even privacy-friendly downloadable index parts to allow custom-search could be an option.

But what’s more, is that the indexed data could be used to train AI, paving the way for conversational search and more.


The full article is available in German language for Spektrum.de subscribers only at: https://www.spektrum.de/news/openwebsearch-der-traum-einer-offenen-suchmaschine/2213413


„Re-orienting search engine research in information science” | JASIST Special Issue

The JASIST Special Issue on „Re-orienting search engine research in information science”, co-edited by Dirk Lewandowski, Jutta Haider, Olof Sundin, has now been published. It offers lots of reading material about Internet Search and Search Engines, including the article „Impact and Development of an Open Web Index for open web search“ that many OWS.EU consortium members co-wrote are now available in the JASIST Special Issue.

Find shortcuts to the articles here:

Editorial: Re-orienting search engine research in information science
(Dirk Lewandowski, Jutta Haider, Olof Sundin)

Impact and development of an Open Web Index for open web search
(Michael Granitzer et al.)

The influence of knowledge type and source reputation on preferences for website or video search results
(Georg Pardi, Steffen Gottschling, Yvonne Kammerer)

Virtuous search: A framework for intellectual virtue in online search
(Tim Gorichanaz)

Dark sides of artificial intelligence: The dangers of automated decision-making in search engine advertising
(Carsten D. Schultz, Christian Koch, Rainer Olbrich)

Is googling risky? A study on risk perception and experiences of adverse consequences in web search
(Helena Häußler, Sebastian Schultheiß, Dirk Lewandowski)

Towards improving user awareness of search engine biases: A participatory design approach
(Monica Lestari Paramita, Maria Kasinidou, Styliani Kleanthous, Paolo Rosso, Tsvi Kuflik, Frank Hopfgartner)

Making the invisible visible: Critical discourse analysis as a tool for search engine research
(Renee Morrison)

The elusive search engine: How search engine use is reflected in survey reports
(Cecilia Andersson, Olof Sundin)

Shaping information and knowledge on climate change technologies: A cross-country qualitative analysis of carbon capture and storage results on Google search
(Jussara Rowland, Sergi López-Asensio, Ataberk Bagci, Ana Delicado, Ana Prades)

“Join the drive for a new open European infrastructure for web search” I CORDIS

The Community Research and Development Information Service (CORDIS) is the European Commission’s primary source of results from the projects funded by the EU’s framework programmes for research and innovation, from FP1 to Horizon Europe.

OWS.EU – as Horizon Europe project – is currently calling on third-parties to contribute innovations and infrastructure to help further develop the Open Web Index. The Calls have been published on the CORDIS website and they are closing on April 4th 17 CET:


“People to Watch: Dieter Kranzlmüller” I HPCwire

“The OpenWebSearch.eu project and the Open Search Foundation — both founded and based in Europe — come from a background of open source, open data, open access, and open science. These values have always resonated with my academic career, but of course also with LRZ as an institution“, says Dieter Kranzlmüller – Chair of the Board of Directors, Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) – in a recent interview on HPCwire. Being named a “person to watch in 2024“ by the renowned computer-centred news platform, he was asked to share about LRZ‘s role in the OpenWebSearch.eu project. As one of the 14 consortium partners LRZ plays a key role in providing a stable infrastructure as one of Germany‘s top notch data centres.

Read more about LRZ‘s European scope in the full interview:


“Funding of up to 150,000 euros“ | Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

The German research outlet idw (Informationsdienst Wissenschaft) is the go-to news platform for staying up to date on cutting-edge science updates, publications, projects and topics. The members-centric platform caters to more than 43,000 subscribers. 

With ows.eu consortium partner “University of Passau” being an active member, idw shared about the recent OWS.EU Third-Party Open Calls 2 and 3.

The ows.eu project, part of Horizon Europe, is currently calling on third parties to contribute innovations and infrastructure to help further develop the Open Web Index.


Short Interview with Stefan Voigt at NGI Forum 2023

In November 2023, the annual NGI Forum took place in Brussels and launched a new Q&A video series with NGI-related Horizon Europe-funded project managers. Among the interviewees was Stefan Voigt, the chairman of the executive board at Open Search Foundation (OSF), one of the 14 OWS.EU consortium partners. At the NGI forum, he got to network with a variety of project stakeholders while learning about some really interesting projects under the NGI umbrella.

You can watch his Q&A session on EU Video, the official ActivityPub video platform of the EU institutions, bodies and agencies.

If you want to learn a bit more, you can also revisit the plenary session 3, which was called “Open Web Search and Large Language Models and Beyond: Challenges and opportunities for Europe“, moderated by OSF chairwoman Christine Plote. Among the five panelists was Michael Granitzer from OWS.EU partner University of Passau.

You can watch the full session here online (start at roughly 2.55 minutes in).

“Towards an unbiased digital world“ I CERN Courier

“We don’t want to copy what others are doing.“ – Interview with Andreas Wagner of ows.eu project partner CERN

2024 marks the second year for the EU funded project OpenWebSearch.eu – a project that aims to develop and create a European Open Web Index to ensure European sovereignty in the digital arena. Among the 14 project partners is CERN, the European Laboratory for Particle Physics in Geneva. Andreas Wagner of the CERN IT Department and responsible for the OWS.EU project lead within CERN, was interviewed about the ambitious project in CERN Courier – the renowned monthly magazine for high-energy physics.

In the interview he shares about the collaborative approach of the project in building a foundation for less biased, transparent and open access to information in the digital world. Read about the current status of the project, including first crawling activities, as well as an outlook on how the project could move ahead with regard to aspects such as funding, navigating through legal frameworks and establishing ethical rules of conduct and curation.

Read the article online at CERN Courier

“Those who defend the free Internet against the state and corporations” I Telepolis.de

Three years, five data centers, six universities, six third-party partners,…: The OpenWebSearch.eu project was initiated in 2022 by 14 European partners with the aim to create an open, European search index. One of the partners being the Open Search Foundation in Starnberg near Munich.

For his book “Der Kampf um das Internet – Wie Wikipedia, Mastodon und Co. die Tech-Giganten herausfordern”, author Stefan Mey interviewed the Open Search Foundation‘s board members Stefan Voigt and Christine Plote about the basic ideas, motivations and drive behind the Open Search Initiative.

You can now read an excerpt from the interview on Telepolis (available in German): https://www.telepolis.de/features/Wer-das-freie-Internet-gegen-Staat-und-Konzerne-verteidigt-9585983.html?seite=2

Also in the book: a portrait of the Open Search Foundation. Find the book on the publisher’s website: https://www.chbeck.de/mey-kampf-internet/product/35518159

“Ethical, open and non-commercial: the Open Web Search project is designed to provide Europe with the right alternative to existing search engines” | CERN news

Our project partner CERN featured OWS.EU in their news section. Very readworthy article about the Open Web Search project and its goal of securing Europe’s contributing to Europe’s digital sovereignty as well as promoting an open human-centered search engine market.

“Together with the other partners, we have started by simply discussing possible ways of building a new neutral indexing system,” explains ows.eu team member Andreas Wagner from CERN. “Although the system is still very preliminary, running the it on our own set of webpages at CERN has proved useful as it has allowed us to learn critical things about our own internal search engine. In other words, the project will also help CERN to improve its own search capabilities and will provide an open science search function across CERN’s multiple information repositories.”

Read the full article on the CERN news section

“Meet the StormCrawler users: Q&A with the OpenWebSearch.eu project” | Digital Pebbles

Interview on StormCrawler blog for an interview with Michael Dinzinger and Saber Zerhoudi, both researchers in the ows.eu project.

Learn about their research at the Uni Passau, about resource-efficient crawling and how they build crawling pipelines for an open web index – and why the heterogeneous infrastructure of the project is a major challenge in their work.

Read the interview here: