Japanese Search Project Could Challenge Google

    September 5, 2007

Google’s search dominance has reached legendary proportions, and the term “Google killer” has become something of a joke.  But there’s word that a number of powerful companies, along with the Japanese government, will work together to challenge the search giant.

Toyota, Sony, NEC, NTT, and Hitachi – these are the corporations named by Mariko Sanchanta and Richard Waters in an article for the Financial Times.  “The ministry of trade has allocated Y14bn-Y15bn (€89m-€95m) to the project,” the pair also report, which amounts to between $121 million and $129 million.

Of course, that sum might still be insufficient for a direct attack, but the Japanese alliance has something else on its mind.  “Tokyo hopes to use Japan’s strength in developing devices, such as mobile phones and car navigation systems, to create proprietary search and information retrieval functions,” write Sanchanta and Waters.  “For example, the government has matched NTT Data with Toyota InfoTechnology Center and Toyota Mapmaster to create an interactive, personalised car navigation system.”

Many onlookers remain doubtful of the project’s chances; this could be due, in part, to the complete lack of (public) deadlines.  There’s also the silence from Quaero and Theseus, two other national search projects, to consider.

Still, if anybody can beat Google, it might be this Japanese coalition.  For “proof,” read The Onion’s humorous story titled “Earthquake Sets Japan Back to 2147.”