Offended by Google's plan to put millions of American and British books online, Jacques Chirac has asked French Culture Minister Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres and the head of France's Bibliotheque Nationale, Jean-Noel Jeanneney, to do the same for French works. But don't expect to find Madame Bovary online through Google. Despite the fact that Google's French version is used for 3/4 of all French searches, the culture minister wants to develop a new search engine. Why? He doesn't like Google's search criteria: "I do not believe that the only way to access our culture should be the automatic ranking by popularity, which has been behind Google's success." Perhaps he'd be embarrassed at the fact that a Jerry Lewis filmography would likely be found by clicking "I'm Feeling Lucky."
So France, a country suffering under severe unemployment, will seek to ease that by creating new jobs -- a "committee of experts" to sort content. "I have nothing in particular against Google," the culture minister says. "I simply note that this commercial company is the expression of the American system, in which the law of the market is king." And your problem with this is what?
Chirac and friends should be careful in taking on a foe that controls the vast majority of global Internet searches. How many lines of code would it take to ensure that every Google search for "French wine" led the searcher to this?