2005-04-01

Le Google envy. Or, Google à la française

IN THE dimly lit cyber-café at Sciences-Po, hot-house of the French elite, no Gauloise smoke fills the air, no dog-eared copies of Sartre lie on the tables. French students are doing what all students do: surfing the web via Google. Now President Jacques Chirac wants to stop this American cultural invasion by setting up a rival French search-engine. The idea was prompted by Google's plan to put online millions of texts from American and British university libraries. If English books are threatening to swamp cyberspace, Mr Chirac will not stand idly by.

Is it just me, or is viewing Google as an "American cultural invasion" just a wee bit paranoid? Who knows what the zany Jacques will come up with next, but we wish him all the best in his endeavor to hold back the invasion. (A nasty comment could be inserted here regarding the French and their success in stemming other invasions, but I think Chirac deserves the benefit of the doubt.)

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