Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Google Invades France

Here is a great article by Jason Miller at WebProNews entitled Google, The French, and World Domination; The Culture War Begins.

Apparently Europe, led by the French at the moment, is *very* concerned with the American domination of the web and the Anglo-Saxon-ization of all things sacredly European. All this because Google announced plans to digitize the literary world.
France's National Library president Jean-Noel Jeanneney spun around in his chair and called up President Chirac. In protest to what the French press soon called "omnigooglization," and what Jeanneney called a decidedly "Anglo-Saxon" affront, the national librarian wrote a scathing letter to Chirac.

"The real issue is elsewhere. And it is immense. It is confirmation of the risk of a crushing American domination in the definition of how future generations conceive the world."

"[T]heir criteria for selection will be profoundly marked by the Anglo-Saxon outlook."

"It would have meant The Scarlet Pimpernel triumphing over Ninety-three (Victor Hugo's eulogistic account of the revolution)."
Now, since I've never heard of, nor read, Ninety-three, there is probably some validity to Mr. Jeanneney's concerns. In response to Google's endeavor:
The national libraries of 19 countries committed to the mammoth project of digitizing 4.5 billion pages of text, including Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, Slovenia, Slovakia, Spain and Sweden.

Luxembourg P.M., Jean-Claude Juncker seemed especially incensed, saying, "…Europe must not submit in the face of virulent attacks from others."

I do find it very funny though, as Mr. Miller points out:
As I am writing this, I realize that it is difficult to decide how to react to such claims. Nineteen whole countries mobilized against an American search engine?
Another great point from Mr. Miller which sums up my feelings:
But realistically, isn't it as simple as America having something to sell, and the world wants to buy it? Is that a conspiracy? Or is it a challenge to the rest of the world to produce?
Believe me, I want to see every European country retain their cultural identity and having a European library online would be a spectacularly fabulous resource. I just find it amusing, sad and then again amusing that the new American imperialism has gone from "McDonaldization" to "Googlization".

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