Second consortium-wide meeting in Graz

What have we achieved to date? What’s coming up? – Heads were smoking about new ideas and developments for an open search infrastructure and large language models based on an open web index. The second project-wide on-site meeting, hosted by Graz University of Technology, delivered manifold impressions and fostered fruitful discussions.

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“OpenWebSearch.EU is an open project where others can contribute” – Interview with Megi Sharikadze and Michael Granitzer about the third-party calls of openwebsearch.eu

A trustworthy search that protects the personal data of its users and integrates European laws: That is the goal of OpenWebSearch.EU. The plan also includes bringing external research groups and companies on board. To this end, a total of three so-called third-party calls are planned. The first public call ends on 28 April.

What is the strategy behind openwebsearch.eu’s third-party calls? Who applies? And how will the entries be evaluated? Susanne Vieser interviewed the two project coordinators, Prof. Michael Granitzer from the University of Passau and Dr. Megi Sharikadze from the LRZ.

Read the full interview on the website of LRZ

 

 

“Basis for a thousand search engines – The EU wants to build a public web index by 2025” | c’t

“Does it always have to be Google or Bing? With the OpenWebSearch project, the EU wants to protect its sovereignty on the Internet. The goal is a freely accessible web directory that feeds diverse search engines and language models and should trigger a boom in new web services.”

In the German IT and tech magazine c’t, journalist Arne Grävemeyer takes a detailed look at the EU project openwebsearch.eu, with which 13 European organisations are pushing the development of an open web index. Michael Granitzer (University of Passau, OSF and project lead of openwebsearch.eu), Stefan Voigt (Open Search Foundation, DLR), Christian Gütl (Graz University of Technology) and Phil Höfer (SuMa e.V./MetaGer) have their say. The article is in German, here are some quotes:

“But what could you do with a large web index if it were freely available to the public? One could build alternative search engines or specialised search services according to selected topics. Users would have free choice and could better protect their private user profiles. Linguists could use the data pool of a large web index to follow how our language is developing, and sociologists could observe how we interact with each other in the social media. Web services could use it to look for clues to incipient pandemics or other catastrophic events and thus build an early warning system.”

“We are not a European Google,” says Michael Granitzer, Chair of Data Science at the University of Passau, who is coordinating the OpenWebSearch project. He says the project is not about building a large search engine, but much more fundamentally about establishing an infrastructure that search engines and other services can later work with. Google’s size is certainly out of reach at the beginning. “It will be more like Wikipedia, which started with a small core compared to large publishers and then grew continuously.”

“Even at the start of the project, and thus before the hype around ChatGPT, the partners considered the Open Web Index, with its focus on European content and languages, as a data pool for specialised language models. New search engines could also immediately use these models as an interface for search queries. “Users are usually not looking for links, but for answers to their questions or even suggested solutions,” says Gütl. That speaks for the use of chatbots, he says.”

“In terms of Europe’s digital sovereignty, the Open Web Index can certainly be seen as a critical infrastructure. The project partners hope that it will create transparent structures on the web. The envisaged European web index promises more plurality and hopefully benefits above all those who simply provide the best and most reliable information on their websites.”

Online version of the (german) article (paywall) at heise.de

Links to Open Web Search, compiled by c’t: ct.de/y6sw

First EU project on Open Web Search launches third-party call | Media Release

Third-party call – an invitation to advance R&D for a new Internet Search in Europe

OpenWebSearch.EU – a consortium of 14 research partners – is open for third-party proposals to help building an Open and independent Web-Index based on European values (OWI). The first call addresses business and research partners to submit their applications in two tracks from March 1st until April 28th, 2023.

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Third-Party Call #1: Announcement

First third-party Call has launched

The OpenWebSearch.eu project consortium is eager to identify new project teams to be funded under the OpenWebSearch.eu Community Programme, on-board and integrate them into ongoing and future activities for sustainable Research and Development on Open Web Search.

Third-party activities are driving forces in the OpenWebSearch.eu Community Programme, with funding provided by the OpenWebSearch.eu project (funded by the EC under the GA 101070014). In spring 2023 the OpenWebSearch.eu Community Programme is coming to life. The Community Programme is comprised of activities in support of third-party project initiation, execution and successful completion.

Topics of Call 1

The first call consists of two tracks:

Track 1: Conceptual contributions on legal or economic aspects of Open Search

Building an Open Web Index (OWI) does not only include technical challenges, but also legal and societal ones, especially when considering recent EU legislation like the Digital Service Act or the Digital Market Act. Furthermore, challenges for new business models or significant changes in the search engine market arise.

The consortium seeks for two possible kinds of studies:

  • Legal Studies to analyse and understand legal constraints and requirements for building and operating an OWI, which includes, but is not limited to (i) compilation and analysis of the laws and norms that are relevant to building and maintaining an OWI, (ii) legal assessment of technical and non-technical prevention mechanism, (iii) legal assessment of the implications of the right to de-referencing for an OWI or (iv) analysis of existing open source and open data licenses in regard to the suitability for usage in an OWI.
  • Economic Studies for setting up and maintaining an OWI as public European infrastructure. This includes, but is not limited to studies for analysing and estimating the costs associated with setting up, operating and maintaining a distributed open web index infrastructure across Europe and analysing and estimating the market potential and economic impact of such an infrastructure.
Track 2: Technical approaches to legally compliant data acquisition considering societal constraints:

Web crawling is the predominant method for web search engines to gather content for their index. However, webmaster and content owners have only limited control over the crawling process via mostly proprietary services. OpenWebSearch.eu is looking for concepts and approaches for opening the proprietary components and provide webmasters and content owners with more control over the crawling process and the usage of their content. Envisioned solutions should be technical in nature, including new metadata schemata/ontologies, algorithms / services for collecting website metadata, services and tools for webmaster and content owners to define legal constraints for crawling as well as open datasets and machine learning models for analysing and filtering web pages during the crawling process.

The OpenWebSearch.EU project consortium is eager to onboard new third-party project teams in OpenWebSearch.eu landscape and integrate them in the future activities for sustainable Research and Development. Therefore, the candidate third-party project should probe the closely related topics addressed in the project and should aim at widening and enriching the existing R&D activities as well as suggesting new ones which are complementary to the project goals and aims.

Dates and Modalities

  • Opening date: 1st March 2023
  • Closing date: 28th of April 2023, 17:00
  • Notification date: 30th June 2023
  • Start of projects: 1st August 2023

Successful applications can request funding between 25,000 and 120,000 EUR in this first call for a funding period of up to 12 months.

In particular, we are targeting smaller companies (e.g. SMEs, start-ups), individual innovators, individual researchers or research teams (e.g. doctoral or post-doctoral researchers) from renowned universities. Eligible applicants are individuals residing in EU Member States or Horizon Europe Associated Countries, or organisations registered in EU Member States or Horizon Europe Associated Countries.

Find more info and the full call application package at:
openwebsearch.eu/call1

Third-Party Call 1: Pre-Announcement

OpenWebSearch.eu
“Piloting a Cooperative Open Web Search Infrastructure to Support Europe’s Digital Sovereignty”

Third-Party Call for Proposals: Call 1 Pre-Announcement

OpenWebSearch.EU will call for proposal to help us building an open and independent Web-index. The call will open on 1st of March 2023 and invites researchers and innovators to submit their applications to join our mission. Applications will be accepted until 30th of April 2023.

The first call consists of two tracks:

  • Track 1: Conceptual contributions on legal or economic aspects of Open Search
  • Track 2: Technical approaches to legally compliant data acquisition considering societal constraints

The OpenWebSearch.EU project consortium is eager to onboard new third-party project teams in OpenWebSearch.eu landscape and integrate them for future activities for sustainable Research and Development. Therefore, the candidate 3rd-party project should probe the closely related to the topics addressed in the project and should aim at widening and enriching the existing R&D activities as well as suggesting new ones which are complementary to the project goals and aims.

Successful applications can request funding between 25,000 and 120,000 EUR in this first call for a funding period of up to 12 months.

In particular, we are targeting smaller companies (e.g. SMEs, start-ups), individual innovators, individual researchers or research teams (e.g. doctoral or post-doctoral researchers) from renowned universities. Eligible applicants are individuals residing in EU Member States or Horizon Europe Associated Countries or organisations registered in EU Member States or Horizon Europe Associated Countries.

“OpenWebSearch.EU: A European Web Search Index Could Bring Greater Transparency to the Internet” | Research in Bavaria

“‘In the future, a web search could be a conversation with a search engine,’ says Professor Michael Granitzer, Chair of Data Science at the University of Passau. ‘The machine would generate unique content by summarizing the most relevant points for the user,’ adds Dr Jelena Mitrović, a colleague in the chair and a computer language expert. Granitzer sits down and begins talking to a search engine to demonstrate how it could work.”

Professor Michael Granitzer and Dr Jelena Mitrović from the project partner University of Passau, show what influence the use of artificial intelligence will have on tomorrow’s web search.

Read the full article at online magazine “Research in Bavaria”:
https://www.research-in-bavaria.de/artifical-intelligence/openwebsearch

“The Open Web Search project, Interview Michael Granitzer” | Deutschlandfunk

“Transparency means that everyone has the same information, with the same effort, which – in my opinion – then makes it fairer.” – Prof. Dr. Michael Granitzer from University of Passau, project lead of openwebsearch.eu, in a short radio interview with Manfred Kloiber from Deutschlandfunk.

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“Missing link: Open web index to make Europe independent in searching” | California18

“With a market share of over 90 percent, Google is regularly the number one search engine in Europe. Since 2004, googling has been officially listed as a verb in the dictionary and stands for searching or researching on the Internet with the application of the subsidiary of the US umbrella company Alphabet. As the gateway for a large number of Europeans and citizens worldwide, Google not only opens up information, but also helps determine their view of the Internet and the things depicted on it.”…

Read the full blog article at California18:
https://california18.com/missing-link-open-web-index-to-make-europe-independent-in-searching/9087352023/

“Missing Link: Open web index to make Europe independent in searching” | heise online

“With a publicly viewable source code, I can learn and, more importantly, verify exactly what the search engine is storing about me” – Wolfgang Sander-Beuermann from Suma e.V., a project partner of openwebsearch.eu, and many other voices of the OpenWebSearch.EU’s project resp. of the Open Search Community have their say at heise online.

Find the article at heise online (German):
https://www.heise.de/hintergrund/Missing-Link-Offener-Web-Index-soll-Europa-bei-der-Suche-unabhaengig-machen-7466867.html?seite=all