Project Quaero is considered to represent France's and Germany's response to Google and Yahoo, meant to lift Europe to the United States and Japan's research and development status.
France's contribution(EUR150 million) will come from the Agency for Industrial Innovation, while Thomson and the French National Centre for Scientific Research will lead the French part of Quaero.
The EU just doesn't get it.
A few years back the EU gave exclusive rights to people that compiled data into databases. So exclusive were the rights that it would be illegal for someone to make the same compilation of the data, even if they didn't copy the first database. (For example if I was the first person to compile all of the NFL teams to ever play, nobody else could ever do it, even if they had gone to all the games and wrote them down, because I had the rights to that database.)
The reason that the EU did this was to encourage companies to make databases, because then the companies would not have to be fearful that some other company would steal their data. The EU figured that this would be the solution to US's dominance over them in the internet search field.
Guess what, it backfired. Even though they were advised against it they still thought that exclusive rights to databases were the way to go. But what happened is as soon as one company made a compilation of the web they owned it. And if that company sucked or if they wanted to charge too much to access the database, all web search engine progress in the EU would be stopped.
Now how does that compare to the US? Well with free markets the people that can make the best (most efficient, easy to use, relevant, ...) databases win. That’s why Yahoo and Google are the giants they are and Lycos, Hotbot, and the others are not. It isn't because Google stole Lycos' database, it was because they were a better company.
So now the EU is funding a search engine because if things continue the way they are going now Google will soon own the world. I don't think money is going to make people use a search engine, I think it is innovation. And with the laws that the EU passes to 'help' companies they are killing themselves. (A tax on iPods based on their storage space??? Why?)
Free market = best.