Fear of an American Internet

Despite millions of new internet users from all around the globe, US companies like Google continue to dominate the medium. These businesses invest heavily in research and design, and as a result continue to expand their reach of the internet. One ambitious new project that is raising eyebrows is Google Print, which is collaborating with some of the world’s top universities to publish their library holdings online. Many, including French President Jacques Chirac, are worried about the homogenization and commercialization of culture that could result from the concentration of control in the hands of just a few companies. With a view to preserving Europe’s cultural distinctness in the internet age, Chirac is pushing for the development of a state-sponsored European search engine, for now known as Quaero, to rival Google. Chirac is seeking broad-based support for this idea, and is especially eager to bring Germany onboard. Although some German businesses have tentatively expressed interest, the challenges of producing a credible European alternative to Google have discouraged many investors. Mr. Chirac will either have to think of a new strategy to woo Berlin, or accept that, as companies like Microsoft and Yahoo know all too well, competing effectively with Google is a near-impossible proposition. – YaleGlobal

Fear of an American Internet

Markus Dettmer
Thursday, February 2, 2006

Click here for the original article on Der Spiegel's website.

© DER SPIEGEL 5/2006 All Rights Reserved

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