Editorial – June 2009: Pieter van der Linden, Thomson, coordinator of the Quaero program

Since the program's launch, at the beginning of spring 2008, a series of events have occured. Barack Obama became the 44th President of the United States, the banking crisis degenerated in a worldwide economic crisis, China made a success of its Olympic Games, and Switzerland joined Schengen area. Closer to Quaero, Google announced a 22M$ turnover (+31%), at the end of 2008 Youtube became the second search engine in terms of handled requests (source: comscore), more than 35 new IPTV services were displayed throughout the world (source: MRG), the major libraries plan in the short term to digitize millions of books, 15 to 20% of the sold mobile phones are Smartphones, and finally, Steve Jobs took some time to take care of himself (come back soon, Steve).

At a closer look, none of these evolutions was really unexpected. They illustrate and confirm the ground trends which were at the origin of the creation and of the starting of the Quaero program. These tendencies are: the rapid expansion of broadcasted information, the ubiquity of access to information, new consumption tendencies towards nonlinear models and the predominance of the Internet. In this evolution, Quaero studies and experiments new technologies which will allow to improve some existing services or to conceive new services in order to facilitate the access to information. Although the program started just one year ago, industrial demos in connection with the performed researches are already available. With the Beta versions of Voxalead and 2424actu.fr, Exalead and Orange are testing tomorrow’s access to information services. At the IBC 2008 exhibit, the annual meeting of innovation in terms of equipment and services for the media actors, Thomson demonstrated the premises of a recommendation function for video programs in addition to its IPTV distribution platform. In parallel of these first industrial results, the partners produced numerous scientific and technological results. More than 100 scientific publications were or are going to be published (see “ Scientific production ”).  Because of their quality and of their innovating character, some of these works have received distinctions (see Scientific production).

To stimulate the innovative potential of the program, the partnership is going to expand in the next few weeks and will most probably continue to grow. Priberam, the Portuguese company, is joining Quaero as associated partner. Priberam will share its researches with the other partners in the field of "Question Answering" (Q&A) in Portuguese and Spanish. Other French and European partnership propositions are being studied and some should be announced soon. Besides, the program established close relations with French (Infom@gic), German (Theseus), Japanese (Information Grand Voyage), and European (Cluster Chorus) research programs.
 
In conjunction with its main objective, innovation stimulation by research, Quaero wishes to make scientific and technological dissemination through meetings with third parties, participation in conferences and organization of workshops, a priority for the coming year. Come to meet us soon at following events: i-expo, CHORUS and Infom@gic.

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