European search engines take on Google is the optomistic title of a piece in the International Herald Tribune. "The scraps left over from the big guys are now
getting big enough to make a meal," said Nate Elliott, an analyst in
London for JupiterResearch. "Europe's diversity can play toward
exploiting niches." It's an interesting article, and leans heavily towards Exalead which comes as no surprise, although it also mentions Quaero, Polar Rose, and Quintura. (Could have mentioned Accoona though as well).
The thrust of the piece was that if any engine wanted to get anywhere they'd need to focus on a niche market, although Exalead is just going straight down the route of providing a really good general purpose search engine, but with lots of useful extra functionality that Google simply doesn't have.
I see no reason why European search engines shouldn't do well, and as long as they don't try and go head to head with Google or Yahoo in particular they can pick up traffic - they just need to go the right way about it!