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Friday, April 01, 2005

Google Attack

No not the type that brought us the likes of Scottish Raj and Fuckwit and has not yet delivered us Kickback Jacques. I am talking about something far more sinister.
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.
Oh my god. Added to Coca Colonisation and MacWorld, we have the new threat of Cultural Googlism.
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.
Of course, Google for which France is of course an important market, would be happy to do the same with French texts, something which French Culture Minister is against.
Advertising muscle and consumer demand should not triumph over good taste and cultural sophistication.
No doubt a committee of stuffed shirts will preside over how the texts are archived and what should be included. His main worry is this:
What is most at stake for him, though, is not simply the continued expansion of Anglo-Saxon culture driven by the strength of the English language. It is that Google's version of the universal library will place interpretation of French and other continental European literature, history, philosophy and even politics in American hands.
Apart from the obvious flaw, that no government could ever hope to compete with a company like Google, there is another good reason why this will achieve nothing. Unless they plan to make State Acceptable English translations of all the texts, most of the world can’t read them anyway. Somehow I can’t see the French Government doing that.

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