. . . 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. . . .Check out the rest.
"I do not believe", wrote Mr Donnedieu de Vabres[, France's Culture Minister,] in Le Monde, "that the only key to access our culture should be the automatic ranking by popularity, which has been behind Google's success." . . .
The flaws in the French plan are obvious. If popularity cannot arbitrate, what will? Mr Jeanneney wants a "committee of experts".
Hat tip: Open Access News.
Update (Apr. 5, 2005): Robert MacMillan writes an interesting column on the subject in the Washington Post titled La France Contre Google.
Plus, commentary from the Technology Liberation Front:
A committee of experts to decide what results will appear when searches are made. The mind boggles. One can just imagine the committee’s deliberations: "Let's start with "A". Aardvarks. What should come up? What if someone types big Aaarvarks? Small Aarkwarks?".
The whole thing would make a very good Monty Python skit. It also serves as a vivid reminder of why entrepreneurs (a French word, by the way), rather than French bureaucrats, made the Internet a success.