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August 31, 2005

Project Quaero

Another mind-numbingly stupid boondoggle from Jacques Chirac. Project Quaero, a truly European search engine. Funded by "forgiveable loans" and developed by those two startlingly fleet of foot and entrepreneurial companies, Thomson and Deutsche Telecom.

In a speech in Reims, Mr Chirac said: "We're engaged in a global competition for technological supremacy. In France, in Europe, it's our power that's at stake."

Mr Chirac's intention is to provide forgivable loans to a Franco-German "multimedia search engine for the internet" being developed by French group Thomson and Deutsche Telekom.

The plans reflect Mr Chirac's often-expressed concern about the omnipresence of US culture in French society. The government is already pushing to create an online digital library to rival one planned by Google.

Dubbed "Project Quaero", from the Latin word meaning "to seek", the programme will be fleshed out in more detail next month.

Serge Travert, who is leading the project for Thomson, admitted the new search engine was developed "in part" to combat the dominance of US companies in the internet arena. He said the new service would not be built from scratch, but would build on "science and technology that already exists in France and Germany". Much of the content is expected to be European.

"Culture is not merchandise and it cannot be left to the blind forces of the market," Mr Chirac said in a speech earlier this year giving the go-ahead for work to begin on a digital library of European literature. "We must staunchly defend the world's diversity of cultures against the looming threat of uniformity."

What is the point of this? Really, hasn’t anyone shown him that there already is a very good French search engiine? Google.fr? A good German one? Google.de?

Given who they’re giving the money to expect something around 2010 that manages to crawl the net of 2005.

August 31, 2005 in Search Engines | Permalink


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Yep the people who are still struggling to establish the .eu domain name - nothing is more symptomatic of the EU than that story of how th .eu domain was going to rule the roost and show how quick and nimble Europe is and now - what ten years after the web started really getting going - it still is tied up in red tape!

Posted by: Tim | Aug 31, 2005 10:51:31 AM

"Project Quaero". My first thought was that this post was about Mandy again!

Posted by: Rob Read | Aug 31, 2005 11:47:40 AM

I'd point out that you shouldn't underestimate DT - after all they've just become the first European mobile operator to offer a no-portal, no-cuffware, unlimited monthly data tariff (the homepage is Google), which is something we all desperately need to make anything of mobile Internet access.

Mind you, no-one can still tell me what a "more European" search engine actually means. It doesn't index sites outside Europe? It uses differential rankings on them (what about localisations of non-EU sites?)? Stupid, stupid, stupid.

Posted by: Alex | Aug 31, 2005 11:54:44 AM

Dirigisme is alive and well then in French Policy circles!

Posted by: Angry Economist | Aug 31, 2005 12:11:42 PM

Hmm.... like the French colour television system "SECAM" - "System Essentally Contrary to the American Method"

Posted by: John Davis | Sep 1, 2005 12:45:50 PM