Will France Surrender to Google?

    January 3, 2007

Jacques Chirac isn’t experiencing a very good beginning to his new year. Data suggests that France is becoming even less relevant within the blogosphere, and now reports have surfaced that the nation’s joint search engine venture with Germany is about to go under.

Will France Surrender To Google?
Will Quaero Survive The New Year?

France had grand plans to construct a competitive rival to Google, with Germany’s help of course. The project, entitled Quaero, now stands upon the brink of extinction as Germany announced Wednesday that it plans to back out of the venture.

A UPI Newstrack piece touches on the original plans:

Germany and France initially discussed committing $1.3 billion to $2.6 billion to Quaero over five years. The project was to have been paid for by the French and German governments, with contributions from technology companies in the two countries.

In an odd, yet amusing bit of irony, it appears the Germans have stuck it to the French yet again. Go figure.

But why are the French so interested in challenging Google in the first place?

Perhaps it’s because of the search engine’s shifting focus toward blogs and user generated content. Steve Bryant at Google Watch has more:

Despite France’s perennial grousings, Chirac is right to worry that Google will Americanize — or at least non-French-alize — the Web. Take a look at David Sifry’s numbers from October 2006: France is responsible for only 2% of the world’s blog posts.

The rest are mostly from Japan, China and the US. So if Google is predisposed to blog posts and other forms of UGC, the French are truly in danger of being overlooked, at least in terms of continuing global relevance in a combined pool of SERPs.

Why would a storied and historic nation such as France only command a 2% share of the world’s blog posts? Could it be that the French have gotten the impression that the rest of the world isn’t very interested in what the nation has to say?

That’s pure conjecture, of course.

In any event, with the eminent demise of the Quaero project and its lack of presence within the blogosphere, France could find itself waving a white flag in Google’s direction.

Luckily for the French, it’s a gesture which they’ve perfected with much practice over the years.

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Joe is a staff writer for WebProNews. Visit WebProNews for the latest ebusiness news.