Google is such an insult to French national pride that the country is pumping $153 million of government money into building a competitor to the search engine. And then the national library went and struck a deal with the enemy.
The Bibliothèque Nationale de France's imminent four-year deal with Google Books is being mocked as a humiliating surrender — and that's by the French themselves, reports the Times of London:
Pierre Assouline, a writer with a popular Paris literary blog, pronounced an acid verdict on the surrender: "It will thus have taken four years for the BNF to pass from resistance to collaboration."
France's official Google killer, Quaero, has yet to launch, and a parallel effort go build a Google Books competitor called Europeana has gotten off to a "shaky" start, according to the Times. It would appear massive government efforts simply cannot move as quickly as private corporations. Thank goodness the United States' nimble companies don't need any of these debilitating subsidies to compete with foreigners.
(Pic: Bibliothèque Nationale de France, AP)