29 December 2006

When Germans pull out

The war waged by French president Jacques Chirac against “Anglo-Saxon” cultural imperialism suffered a blow today when the Germans announced they were pulling out of a rival European search engine to Google.

Earlier this year Mr Chirac announced a series of ambitious technological projects designed to challenge the global dominance of the US. They included Quaero, a Franco-German search engine whose name is Latin for “I search”, but which was swiftly dubbed “Ask Chirac”.
One may ask why was it so important to Uncle Jacques to have an European answer to Google, instead of joining forces and do something together? A partial answer is here:
Germany’s decision to snub Quaero is embarrassing for Mr Chirac, who has been keen to secure his legacy and do something for French pride. Quaero had been a pet project of Mr Chirac’s for some time. In a speech a year ago at the Elysée Palace, he spoke of the need to "take up the global challenge posed by Yahoo! and Google".
But expressed even better here:
Mike Lynch, chief executive of Autonomy, a Cambridge-based search software firm, wrote to the Financial Times calling the plan "a blatant case of misguided and unnecessary nationalism" and warned that by the time Quaero was developed the market would have moved on.
Amazing, really, that depth of stupidity one could get into when led by petty patriotism.

Time to schlep out the confusion sign.