Fireball was the first German search engine that was developed in 1996 by the Department of Computer Science of the Technical University of Berlin (TUB) under the working title "Flipper". In 1997 it was further developed by Gruner + Jahr, the project group KIT (TUB) and Neofonie GmbH. The search engine was renamed "Kitty". In June 1997 the search engine started as "Fireball" with a robot called "Kit-Fireball". Then in 1998 Fireball started a collaboration with AltaVista to offer a global search. In 1999 Lycos Europe bought Fireball. In early 2000, Fireball was the largest German search engine with 13.5 million websites, 68.7 million page views and 14 million unique visitors. In August 2000, Fireball held a volume of 22% of the German search engine market. From 2003 to 2008 Fireball used Yahoo and from 2008 to 2009 Google. In March 2009 Fireball was sold to the Swiss Ambrosia AG and they start using Fireball's own search engine again. In 2010, Fireball optimized the site for mobile devices, but it did not offer a mobile site or app.

Language German

Launched June 1997
Closed No

Developer Department Computer Science, Technische Universitšt Berlin

Country of Origin Germany

1997 - 1999 Fireball
1999 - 2009 Lycos
2009 - [...] Ambrosia AG

Topic Universal

Region Germany

Technical functionalities
Robot/Crawler based, algorithmic search
Search Interface / Search API
Blended results SeEn

Used SeEn Fireball
Google Search Engine

Robot: KIT-Fireball (Source)

Older Version Internet Archive / WebCite


Critical points

Features & Functionality


References & further Publications

Wikipedia (EN): n.a.
Wikipedia (Others):

Other Sources

Dresel, R., et al.: Evaluation deutscher Web-Suchwerkzeuge: Ein vergleichender Retrievaltest. In: Information-Wissenschaft und Praxis, Volume 52, Issue 7, October 2001, Pages 381-392. URL:
Die FIREBALL Geschichte URL:
Technik URL:

Created: 2013-03-13