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Old 08-31-2005   #1
dannysullivan
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French Loans To Back European Rival To US Search Players

Chirac backs eurocentric search engine from the Daily Telegraph covers how a new multimedia search engine is to get a 2 billion euro loan as part of an effort to challenge the mostly US-based search engine industry. What do you think? Is it needed? Or can private companies in Europea get by on their own? France To Fund European Search Engine; Replay Of Boeing-Airbus In The Search World? out on the SEW Blog also has a few more comments from me, including some European search firms that seem to be doing OK, to my knowledge, without such help.

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Old 08-31-2005   #2
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Maybe Monsieur Chirac should go talk to these people here: http://www.majestic12.co.uk/
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Old 08-31-2005   #3
Andy AtkinsKruger
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'Control' of culture is the issue

Danny,

I think the Telegraph may have overdone the 2 billion as I understand that was for the joint Franco-German innovation centre which has four projects to work on - including 'Quaero' (L'Expansion). The others include two medical projects and a project to better co-ordinate 3G networks.

It's also interesting to note that Exalead is involved in the project - and the focus is to be on images and video of course.

As for Voila - Google could always go and buy it and or Wanadoo - same with Seekport. This seems to be more about controlling the culture as with the Academie Francaise which tries to control vocabulary. And the only way to achieve that is with a Government controlled body which noone can buy.

It's also worth pointing out that this is not anti-American - it's anti anybody who threatens French culture - specifically the US, China and Japan.

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Old 09-02-2005   #4
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French Culture??

I still don't get what this has to with culture. If Chirac claimed that he wants to bring in "advertising $$$" to France that I would understand.
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Old 09-02-2005   #5
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French Culture

The classic case was the French search marketing agencies who were removed from Googe's index because they did something Google disapproved of.

The agencies were promoting French companies to French people in French - but someone in the US decided to pull the plug. Control you see - that's the problem.

And with Google threatening to publish all the worlds libraries online - including French and German - who then controls the works of the French philosophers.

I think to understand this - you have to put yourself in the shoes of a nation which once lead civilisation and diplomacy and had created the lingua franca of the world. Not exactly the case anymore - but something you might want to protect still if it was yours.

And by the way, the French do think much more about quality of life than necessarily business and money. I appreciate them for that.
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Old 09-04-2005   #6
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I suspect we haven't seen the end of government-funded search engines.

After all, there is publicly-funded radio, and some gov'ts may consider search to be, indeed, a part of culture. And as a high-tech biz they might also want to boost local investment in that sector.

To some it might seem like "meddling" in the private sector. But when it comes to "foreign-owned" enterprises, national governments have often meddled.
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Old 09-05-2005   #7
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it's not about Google

Well, I always believed that money doesn't work when it's about culture. My point is if you love your country, place where you live any foreign company - Google, MSN, Yahoo will not able to force you to forget about your culture. I don't think that Google does something bad with French people, they just can go to www.google.fr and search for a french content, what's wrong with it?

To be able to love your country you need to feel comfortable living and working at this country. When you have a job, good laws and you are smart enough to look at life with a smile and philosophy you are a happy man anywhere - US, French, Australia....Antarctica:-) So I wouldn't talk about threats to French culture from abroad, I would talk about investing money at French culture to let French people have an easy access to literature, art...etc. Yes I'm talking about digital libraries as a next step at cultural evolution.
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Old 09-05-2005   #8
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The classic case was the French search marketing agencies who were removed from Googe's index because they did something Google disapproved of.

The agencies were promoting French companies to French people in French - but someone in the US decided to pull the plug. Control you see - that's the problem.
Yes, and what about the classic case of Google removing American search marketing agengies because they did something that Google disapproved of? The agencies were promoting American companies ot American people in American English, but someone in the US decided to pull the plug.

I have no doubt any French-based, home-grown search engine will yank things out of its index for many of the same reasons that the major ones do.
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Old 09-05-2005   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dannysullivan
I have no doubt any French-based, home-grown search engine will yank things out of its index for many of the same reasons that the major ones do.
Might even be used to purge creeping Franglais from the language.

I wonder how much of this is Boeing-Airbus and how much is Académie française. Possibly a little of each.
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Old 09-05-2005   #10
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Tres bien dit, Robert! (Mais je ne sais pas comment t'a mis l'accent sur l'"e" dans ton message?)

As an addition to Danny's comment, based on my experience, the French "editors" may be more likely to "work with someone" (don't read corruption, rather business here) than those in the US, also, non?
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Old 09-06-2005   #11
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Originally Posted by Chris Boggs
Tres bien dit, Robert! (Mais je ne sais pas comment t'a mis l'accent sur l'"e" dans ton message?)
Chris - I won't respond in French because I don't want to make a fool of myself on an international forum, but, to answer en anglais, I have a shortcut to \WINDOWS\system32\charmap.exe sitting on my desktop. Just find and select the character in the Character Map, copy, and paste.

I knew l'Académie wouldn't like it if I Anglicized its name.
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Old 09-06-2005   #12
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And I wonder how much is politicising for gain?

The French have often seen themselves (rightly or wrongly) as the antithesis of the USA Americans: classy vs crass, cultured vs cheesy, connoisseur vs people who think McDonalds is good tucker.

For politcal gain, I am sure taking this juxtaposition and extending it to search, and giving money to a French company to fight Google et al, is an astute political move.
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Old 09-07-2005   #13
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Originally Posted by Robert_Charlton
Chris - I won't respond in French because I don't want to make a fool of myself on an international forum, but, to answer en anglais, I have a shortcut to \WINDOWS\system32\charmap.exe sitting on my desktop. Just find and select the character in the Character Map, copy, and paste.

I knew l'Académie wouldn't like it if I Anglicized its name.
Tres vrai, mon ami! ("These dirty Americans, ruining the beautiful French language without accent-egus!" ) Thanks for the info. I never spell-checked my French, so it may have been me making the fool out of myself!
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Old 09-07-2005   #14
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Originally Posted by Chris Boggs
Tres vrai, mon ami! ("These dirty Americans, ruining the beautiful French language without accent-egus!" ) Thanks for the info.
I didn't want to tell you, Chris, but "tres" should be "très," avec un accent grave.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Boggs
I never spell-checked my French, so it may have been me making the fool out of myself!
Can you imagine the spelling corrections a French government search engine might offer, accompanied with sneering emoticons...?

" Did you mean:

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Old 09-08-2005   #15
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I didn't want to tell you, Chris, but "tres" should be "très," avec un accent grave.
I guess I should have made it clearer that I was talking about the accent in Academie... Those emoticons may need adult content warnings!
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Old 09-09-2005   #16
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Picking losers

I think the Globalization Institute got it right on this one:

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These are two companies not known for their expertise in web software or search algorithms. If they were likely to make a go of this new search engine, they would be able raise money from investors. The very fact they are after "forgivable loans" suggests the project will be a failure. There are countless search engines, but we use Google and Yahoo because they are actually very good. Is it realistic to believe that Thomson and Deutsche Telekom will come up with better algorithms faster than two of the most innovative companies on the planet?
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Old 09-09-2005   #17
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encore

Quote:
Originally Posted by projectphp
And I wonder how much is politicising for gain?

The French have often seen themselves (rightly or wrongly) as the antithesis of the USA Americans: classy vs crass, cultured vs cheesy, connoisseur vs people who think McDonalds is good tucker.

For political gain, I am sure taking this juxtaposition and extending it to search, and giving money to a French company to fight Google et al, is an astute political move.
Good point. Any connection between a government official in the US and Google, for example, would probably be more scrutinized than in France. Something sounds wrong though. Even though a culture could be compared to its search habits, the way that the search engines are able to operate within that culture will be what dictates SERPs. These SERPs can be more manipulated and maybe less effective, without regulation.

Money will influence culture, to some degree, in my opinion. So can SERPs to a lesser extent. What I wonder is if McDonalds had a location in every small town in France, would the French love it? What if they removed "Royales with cheese" from the menu? Would it be considered a “faux-pas?”

I feel many of the topics covered so far in this thread are really more attributable to classes than cultures. PHP by saying "rightly or wrongly" implicitly understands that the whole “ugly American as a stereotype” is flawed thinking on the part of the French (there are plenty of Americans that feel the same way about "lesser" Americans). I remember when I stayed at a Chateaux in Margaux as a teenager one summer with some family friends, I got into the greatest argument with their three sons about The Blue Angels versus the French acrobatic squad. My argument was based on the fact that the US pilots were flying actual combat planes instead of jets designed for tricks. their arguments were simply that French is better.

You may wonder why I used that comparison, but if we are talking about reasons for the French to fight Google, we probably need to look into why they are doing so more deeply.
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