Apparently the French government is spending millions in an attempt to develop a French alternative to Google. The WSJ editorial page rightly sticks it to the French for this miserable use of tax revenue:
Championed by President Jacques Chirac, Quaero has received some €90 million in public funds. The idea? To rival -- peut-être topple -- Google. This is one battle in Mr. Chirac's war against what he calls the "omnipresence" of "Anglo-Saxon" culture on the Web. It got a boost this week when the chief of Lycos Europe, which is in line to help develop the engine, endorsed the plan...Google doesn't get a penny from any government, nor is it -- as far as we can tell -- part of a nefarious plot to rid the world of French culture. It just happens to give users world-wide what they want in languages from Arabic to Zulu. If you don't like those pesky English-language results, you can eliminate them with a click of the mouse. If European leaders really want to foster the next Google, they might consider cutting the high taxes and red tape that send students and entrepreneurs the world over running for the United States. Then again, that would make sense -- and wouldn't cost taxpayers a centime.It seems that the French have yet to realize what markets are all about. Their language would do a lot better if they concentrated their energy on expanding the French economy, which would invariably increase its presence on the web. Spending millions on this search engine is destined to fail, companies have spent millions trying to beat Google at its own game, none have succeeded at this point. French people might love the French language, but I bet they like finding what they want on the web a lot more.