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France National Library Attacks Google Book Effort

Zonk posted more than 9 years ago | from the french-say-no-to-american-bits dept.

Google 899

An anonymous reader writes "The National Library of France is not happy with Google's effort to scan and integrate millions of books into its Web search. Jean-Noel Jeanneney, President of the library, wrote in an editorial that he is concerned Google's initiative to digitalize volumes at five leading libraries will reflect a unipolar worldview dominated by the English language and American culture. Jeanneney is pushing for European libraries to follow in Google's footsteps. Google said it was surprised by Jeanneney's remarks and noted, 'This is a first step for us; we can't do everything at once.'"

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Damn French Frog (-1, Flamebait)

TheMster (845236) | more than 9 years ago | (#11747867)

Why doesn't he just surrender already

Re:Damn French Frog (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11747970)

Racist comments marked as funny ,

Re:Damn French Frog (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11748059)

It's xenophobic. Utter pricks like you mis-use the word 'racist' because it has more of a taboo attached to it. STFU.

Re:Damn French Frog (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11747972)

How do you say hello in French?

"I Surrender."



yuk yuk

goat.cx is down! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11747995)

goat.cx has been taken down. Is there no God?

Don't panic. (-1, Flamebait)

darth_MALL (657218) | more than 9 years ago | (#11747875)

They'll back down.

Re:Don't panic. (5, Insightful)

Rei (128717) | more than 9 years ago | (#11748056)

Yes, naturally since France was mentioned in the headline, we have to cue the French bashing right away instead of looking at the real cultural issues being discussed.

The fact is - whether for right or wrong - France has long kept a strong interest in preserving their language. For a long time, American English attempted to do the same (that lasted up till the early/mid 1800s, on a less formal level - the rate of adoption of Native American words, for example, into English was incredibly slow during this time; British English by comparison changed far faster than American English). The French government, across administrations, has fought the adoption of imported words into their language.

This google initiative is - perhaps rightly, perhaps not - seen as a threat to maintaining the integrity of the French language. I think the approach called for was appropriate - instead of trying to force Google's hand, they instead called for European libraries to follow Google's lead.

why does france hate google? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11747877)

i just don't understand why

Great idea (2, Insightful)

IncarnadineConor (457458) | more than 9 years ago | (#11747878)

Hey, that's not fair! Rather than help you in your good idea, to make it fair, we'll bitch about it.

Re:Great idea (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11748020)

Ehm, isn't he exactly speaking of helping them, or rather implementing the same thing for french books?

So where exactly is the problem here?

Let's see if... (4, Insightful)

Denyer (717613) | more than 9 years ago | (#11747879)

...they're prepared to scan books themselves and contribute them to the effort.

Re:Let's see if... (5, Informative)

JohnGrahamCumming (684871) | more than 9 years ago | (#11747930)

http://gallica.bnf.fr/

I love english-books, I hate french-books. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11748031)

1. profit!
2. ProfiT!!
3. PROFIT!!!
4. PPRROOFFIITT!!!!

Pay to read books!
Call to Richard Stallman!!!

Re:Let's see if... (-1, Troll)

PopeAlien (164869) | more than 9 years ago | (#11748109)

...they're prepared to scan books themselves and contribute them to the effort.

.. yeah, but hopefully not just books written in some crazy moon-man language that nobody understands.

FREEDOM!!

oh.. wait.. do we still hate the communist french or what? I've got to go consult with my freedom loving right wing overlords.

RTFS (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11748110)

This is a new one. RTFS.
You don't even have to be bothered to RTFA, it's in the fucking summary.

"Jeanneney is pushing for European libraries to follow in Google's footsteps."

Sounds an awful lot like he's trying to get people to scan books themselves, eh?

A little bit sore perhaps (1, Interesting)

shadowknot (853491) | more than 9 years ago | (#11747884)

It seems to me that this is just a kneejerk response to the elemental truth that English has superseeded French as the international language, French was of course once considered the language of diplomacy :-)

Re:A little bit sore perhaps (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11747959)

I thought it was the language of submission. They can't even win a war against themself (re: the many civil wars/revolutions they had following the "French Revolution").

Re:A little bit sore perhaps (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11748068)

They never had any problems with the vietnam gooks though. I heard they whopped your asses real bad?

Re:A little bit sore perhaps (1)

JohnGrahamCumming (684871) | more than 9 years ago | (#11747964)

Funny how the poster incorrectly spells the word "superseded" which comes from the Old French "superceder".

John.

Re:A little bit sore perhaps (4, Insightful)

BarryNorton (778694) | more than 9 years ago | (#11747967)

International language for business, yes, but French literature (and indeed German) is to be treasured and I, for one, agree that this should be acknowledged...

Couldn't Agree More (1, Funny)

fembots (753724) | more than 9 years ago | (#11747889)

When Google first got started in the Yahoo-era, I also wrote an editorial about how little result Google gave back in 1999, I almost gave up on it.

Re:Couldn't Agree More (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11747958)

Got a link to that? (Check Archive.org if it's not up on the web anymore)

Silly Jean-Noel Jeanneney (2, Funny)

elasticwings (758452) | more than 9 years ago | (#11747891)

Doesn't he realize that English is the only language that matters? :P

Re:Silly Jean-Noel Jeanneney (3, Funny)

tehshen (794722) | more than 9 years ago | (#11748062)

l33t 15 73h 0n1Y 14n9u493 7h47 m4773r5!

French have a point there (2, Insightful)

GooDieZ (802156) | more than 9 years ago | (#11747892)

Can't argue with that concern.

Re:French have a point there (2, Insightful)

Maestro4k (707634) | more than 9 years ago | (#11748017)

Can't argue with that concern.
  • It's a valid concern yes, but the way he's gone about it is making him, and France, look rather silly (again). It would have been better to note the development of Google's digital library initiative (whatever they call it) and then encourage other libraries to do similiar in order to foster better cultural exchange, etc. etc. online.
  • Basically he seems to be trying to make Google look like a bad guy here. Google's response is quite appropriate, they can't do everything at once. I seriously doubt they want to stop this with just US libraries, they're a company and there's money to be made moving this into other countries as well.

    This guy needs to get his panties out of a wad and work harder at being productive. I don't have anything against the French and their tryng to promote the French language, but making themselves look silly is _NOT_ encouraging that, it's making other people distance themselves from all things French.

So whats stopping him from .... (2, Insightful)

i.r.id10t (595143) | more than 9 years ago | (#11747893)

SO whats stopping him from volunteering and starting to scan/digitize other works?

Re:So whats stopping him from .... (1)

marika (572224) | more than 9 years ago | (#11747997)

I am french I know. It's better to whine than do something good about it.

BSD meets French language and culture.... (2, Funny)

gatkinso (15975) | more than 9 years ago | (#11747900)

...at the mortuary.

Re:BSD meets French language and culture.... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11748007)

C'est à dire,
"Ils sont morts, Jacques."

Strange... (1, Insightful)

delmoi (26744) | more than 9 years ago | (#11747902)

It's one thing to say "We should do this with French lit as well." but it's entirely another to say complain about someone doing it with English works. Given Google's efforts in other languages, it seems strange to me that they'd not continue their project in other languages.

Besides what is a French person doing complaining about things like this? The French are the biggest language snobs on the planet.

Asked and Answered (1)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 9 years ago | (#11747971)

all in one line.

Besides what is a French person doing complaining about things like this? The French are the biggest language snobs on the planet.

On a more serious note-- I'm willing to bet this is a mischaracterization to sensationalize the story. hmmmmmm that's never happened before.

Re:Strange... (2, Funny)

That's Unpossible! (722232) | more than 9 years ago | (#11748045)

Besides what is a French person doing complaining about things like this? The French are the biggest language snobs on the planet.

The French are the biggest language snobs on the planet.

Re:Strange... (2, Informative)

rgmoore (133276) | more than 9 years ago | (#11748048)

Besides what is a French person doing complaining about things like this? The French are the biggest language snobs on the planet.

It seems to me that this kind of complaint is exactly what you'd expect from a language snob. The French are always upset when things are done first in English because they think that everything should be done in French first.

Still, it's a little sad Google is a big company. (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11748113)

If they were still small, they could do something like kill French language support for one day, replacing the franco page with a fake offer to "Upgrade your language" to either English, German or Chinese.

Re:Strange... (5, Insightful)

remi2402 (816874) | more than 9 years ago | (#11748085)

Ok, I'll bite this one for a change.

I don't expect any slashdotter to actually even care for the original article (yes, the one in French) but just the summary ... let alone try and translate it with babelfish.

Here's basically what this fellow French dude says : Google, an american company, is trying to digitalize books, let's team up as europeans to continue to bring our own litterature on the web as well.

Of course his first few lines sound very anti american, just as the first few posts talked about frogs and all :)

This is not as much towards google as it is towards the French government and other EU countries.

WHAT?! (5, Funny)

Angafirith (825501) | more than 9 years ago | (#11747903)

You mean an english speaking company with english speaking employees is starting off with english literature?!

Of course it "invokes French ire" (4, Insightful)

SYFer (617415) | more than 9 years ago | (#11747904)

Jeanneney's remarks are indeed anti-American. I don't see what makes him think that Google's efforts will "reflect a unipolar worldview dominated by the English language and American culture" other than the fact that it's being done by Americans. Indeed, he seems to like the idea itself but resent that it's being done by a US company.

Look, I know it's awfully trendy to be down on anything and everything American (and certainly there are things that legitimately cause concern), but frankly I'm more concerned that Jeanneney's anti-Americanism is affecting his scholarship than that Google's efforts (with the help of the libraries concerned and plan to be inclusive) is bad scholarship.

Re:Of course it "invokes French ire" (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11747953)

Most of france is the same way. I was there over the summer, and God were there a lot of assholes. Then again, the French have always been known to be completely full of themselves... (ask any other European).

Re:Of course it "invokes French ire" (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11748105)

And yesterday I was watching "Married with children" and God was there a lot of american assholes on this TV show. Why do you feel the need to be so stupid in your generalizations?

Re:Of course it "invokes French ire" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11748028)

Yeah, I know it should be "its." I guess that's my own bad scholarship.

+1 Whining about anti-Americanism (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11748077)

Grow a thicker skin, for God's sake.

Re:Of course it "invokes French ire" (2, Informative)

MBCook (132727) | more than 9 years ago | (#11748081)

I agree. Google's effort is only "dominated by the English language and American culture" because Google is a US company which, because it is based and run in the US is almost certainly "dominated by the English language and American culture".

They should LIKE this. This gives people all over the world in towns big and small access to books that they might otherwise never get to see for free (they'd have to buy the book). Google's effort will probably spawn others and that is where the French language/culture books (as well as those of other countries) come in.

Google tried to do something nice and pure, and they bitched. This is nothing but America bashing, pure and simple.

Besides, if Googlee did French books first, the Spanish would complain (as well as many Americans). So unless they did every language/culture at the start it would be "dominated by blah blah blah". And what company (even one as nice as Google) would undertake a program that big in the first place?

Nothing to see here but anti-US venom, move along.

Americans already hate France (1)

glitch0 (859137) | more than 9 years ago | (#11747906)

Americans are already pissed at the French for not helping with Iraq, hence the "freedom fries" name-change-fad that happened a while ago.

I'm sure France stating that they don't like American culture dominating won't help their American popularity very much.

Re:Americans already hate France (1)

shadowknot (853491) | more than 9 years ago | (#11747940)

Honestlythough, who really cares? If this were the 1860's it might matter that France hates us but now they are a nothing in terms of world power and are just a little sore about it!

Re:Americans already hate France (1)

glitch0 (859137) | more than 9 years ago | (#11748065)

True, they have been general dicks when it comes to supporting America. They helped us out during the American revolution, and we helped them out during WWII, so I guess its somewhat even. It just disappoints me that all those snooty French hate Americans so much....

Re:Americans already hate France (5, Informative)

Reignking (832642) | more than 9 years ago | (#11748119)

True, they have been general dicks when it comes to supporting America. They helped us out during the American revolution, and we helped them out during WWII, so I guess its somewhat even. It just disappoints me that all those snooty French hate Americans so much....

From my experience, they don't. They even wonder why we Americans think that the French hate us. They were really confused by the freedom-fries debacle. OTOH, the Parisians are different, and more difficult, but that's not just towards Americans.

Re:Americans already hate France (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11748066)

Who cares what America thinks about France? France isn't making war in the Middle-east, so all they need to worry about is Germany getting empire fever again :-P

Anyway, i don't think France is a real country... just something to complete the map and make everyone else look good.

Yrgh (5, Funny)

TheViciousOverWind (649139) | more than 9 years ago | (#11747910)

"Google said it was surprised"

Nooo, it can talk, and it's got emotions... Run away!

Re:Yrgh (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 9 years ago | (#11748111)

Surprise isn't an emotion, but rather indicates that an outcome or event strongly diverged from an entity's expectations. Ie, even an emotionless entity can be surprised.

Gah, I have sunk to new lows. I'm correcting pithy one-liners.

French (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11747915)

people stink, who cares what they think, scan me some more books mister pink, grab the one on your left ya dink

Fuck the French (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11747917)

Fuck the French! Viva le Americano!

Leave it to France (0, Flamebait)

winkydink (650484) | more than 9 years ago | (#11747919)

to find some reason why they don't like a good idea. Aside from France, Quebec, and a bunch of little African countries, where is French the primary language? Oh yeah, Haiti... let's not forget Haiti. France need to stop living so vicariously in the past. They are not the world player they used to be.

He is complaining (2, Insightful)

Shnizzzle (652228) | more than 9 years ago | (#11747927)

that more books will be more accessible and possibly free. If he wants more French literature to be available either start a company to do this or make it more interesting to Google. Does he point out that French universities were jumping at the bit to have Google do work at their libraries? Sounds like a lot of lot of pointless bitching to me.

In French? (2, Interesting)

cyocum (793488) | more than 9 years ago | (#11747932)

The link in the article is to the original French in Le Monde. Do I speak/read French? Yes. Do I want to read some French guy whine about French becoming a minority language on the Web (like it isn't in real life)? No, not really

Très Grande Bibliothèque (2, Interesting)

sulli (195030) | more than 9 years ago | (#11747933)

This from the monument to Mitterrand pork [pele.org] that built its library stacks in glass towers, thus baking its books in the sun every day of the year?

With that record in book preservation, I doubt that they would be a very effective judge of what Google has to offer.

French Bashing aside (3, Insightful)

booyah (28487) | more than 9 years ago | (#11747935)

where does it say, that an american corporation like google, has to promote all works by all nations?

or another american corporation site (like slashdot) has to some how not be american centric?

Me thinks the world has gotten a little too attached to our finger pointing. If you DONT like the way an established business is doing things, DO THEM YOURSELF! /rant

Google said... (1)

eratosthene (605331) | more than 9 years ago | (#11747936)

I think it's interesting that the entity Google replied directly to this editorial. Am I to believe, then, that Google has taken on a life of its own, and is now a living, speaking being, rather than just a corporate entity?

Re:Google said... (1)

Donoho (788900) | more than 9 years ago | (#11748033)

Am I to believe, then, that Google has taken on a life of its own, and is now a living, speaking being, rather than just a corporate entity?

Yes. Google gained sentience some time in 1999...

Didn't You Know? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11747938)

The French want to rule the world!

Typical: he writes in a language nobody reads (4, Funny)

mveloso (325617) | more than 9 years ago | (#11747942)

I think the editorial would have been much more powerful and effective if it was written and presented in a language that people actually read. /ducks

the truth is (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11747950)

English is the world-language. It's spread and is actively being spread by the UK and US government (on a joint initiative) which has been in force for decades.
Non-english speaking countries may not like this, but it's the truth.

Jealous, I think (4, Insightful)

Elranzer (851411) | more than 9 years ago | (#11747955)

Maybe Jeanneney wants it instead to be a unipolar worldview dominated by the French language and French culture. They still seem to think they're a world power for some reason.

If his country came up with Google, then sure it's a case, but sorry they didn't. The best thing he can do is ignore it and not use it.

Of course he cannot force France and the EU to stop using Google, as that would violate their rights of freedom, which is somewhat more flexible than the United State's Bill of Rights lately.

France does not like ze Google (1)

schleyfox (826198) | more than 9 years ago | (#11747956)

Why are they suing Google at every chance they can get? Is it anti-Americanism? Is it bad foie gras induced hallucinations? Seriously guys, google just sorts information and tries to make it easily accessable. Go away!

But English is the lingua franca of our time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11747965)

And google is a company from an English speaking country, so I find it quite normal that they start out with English books.
However, if this leads to others also making the effort I can only welcome this development.

Ahuh (2, Funny)

Primotech (731340) | more than 9 years ago | (#11747969)

"Google Book Effort Draws French Ire" But then again, what doesn't?

Shouldn't libraries digitize themselves (1)

grahamsz (150076) | more than 9 years ago | (#11747973)

It seems like it would be massively in the public interest for libraries to set about digitizing their catalogs.

Much as I like google, i feel that this starts down the path of allowing a corporate entity to be guardian of our cultural heritage.

Hopefully google's move will show that large scale digitization is possible and will pave the way to libraries doing this themselves.

Re:Shouldn't libraries digitize themselves (1)

HyperChicken (794660) | more than 9 years ago | (#11748001)

Screw having libraries doing it. Have the publishers do it. Most books now a-days are written in an electronic form anyway.

Not that kind of book (2, Insightful)

grahamsz (150076) | more than 9 years ago | (#11748103)

I think the effort should be to digitize older material first.

Firstly there's a lot of very valuable information which is in the public domain, which makes the legal issues go away.

Secondly, a lot of said information is in danger of being lost. The national libraries of our various countries hold one-of-a-kind books. One fire and they could be lost forever.

Publishers will probably have to start supplying the text of their books to google/amazon to keep their sales up.... some are doing it already.

Oh brother... (1)

Pollux (102520) | more than 9 years ago | (#11747986)

And if the French had their way with everything, I would be reading my "Courriel" [bongonews.com] right now.

If the French really wants to make sure that French still survives as a world language, they need to get off their butts and conquer a few countries.

One way to get the French to back down... (1, Funny)

Aeron65432 (805385) | more than 9 years ago | (#11747990)

Dispatch a couple Germans into Paris. They'll surrender.

Did you really expect anything less... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11747992)

...from a country that used to be called 'Gaul'?

"Messianic dream"? (1)

TeaQuaffer (809857) | more than 9 years ago | (#11747994)

I find it odd that Jean-Noel Jeanneney calls Google's work a "Messianic dream". I am a big fan of books and the written word, but to digitalized volumes with the Christ seems a bit over zealous. Besides, this is funny coming from a country which likes to ban English words.

Hey! (3, Funny)

TheDredd (529506) | more than 9 years ago | (#11747998)

No English translation of the editorial?

who cares? (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11747999)

the french are assholes

Many French-language books will be a part (1)

dschmelzer (198261) | more than 9 years ago | (#11748004)

Obviously, these large libraries have a number of books in other lanugages, including French.

In any event, I'm sure that Google would be ecstatic to digitize the French national library's stacks, if given a chance to pitch the idea.

And the First Book Scanned is... (1)

Evil W1zard (832703) | more than 9 years ago | (#11748008)

France and Munich, Before the Surrender. by Alexander Werth

Does this mean.... (2, Funny)

LordPhantom (763327) | more than 9 years ago | (#11748010)

...that I have to start eating "freedom fries" again?

This is a non-story (1)

cavemanf16 (303184) | more than 9 years ago | (#11748011)

We're dealing with a librarian here, people. And as we all know from experience, librarians are stereotypically quite weird, usually nasty people in this country. I doubt it changes much if you go overseas. ;)

It's a joke, laugh, you uptight librarians!

Sounds like a great plan (1)

Agent_9191 (812909) | more than 9 years ago | (#11748012)

Why not follow in Google's footsteps and then contribute to the their work and then you can search that one source, across multiple languages, to find what you're looking for. Then it won't necessarily be English dominated documents...It's not that hard... Maybe it's just the way the French are..."That's a great idea, but if I support it I look like one of the general masses. I know! I'll critisize it, and at the same time perform the exact same actions and claim my way's better!"

Welcome To Our Coverage of ... (1)

strelitsa (724743) | more than 9 years ago | (#11748013)

... the Race to Total Irrelevance. This broadcast is brought to you by Joe's Freedom Fries - Breakfast of the Consistent Second-Place Finisher! If cold and mushy fried potatoes are your gig, you'll love Joe's.

Today's contestants are:

Number 5: Spats
Number 22: Commodore VIC-20
Number 7: Emmanuel Lewis
Number 17: The slide rule
Number 2: The buggy whip
And in the pole position - Number 36: French government and culture

Gentlemen, start your memes!

Oh No! (1)

augustz (18082) | more than 9 years ago | (#11748014)

Oh no!

- gmail scans my email (ignoring the fact the tons of other companies, scan and attach ads to inbound and outbound email).

- google toolbar has optional smart links (that default to off and the user must enable).

- google print will make knowladge more available.

The world will be ending shortly.

I like france actually, lived there for a year when I was younger. The librarian makes some interesting and I think valid points. The conclusion I draw is not that google is at fault, they are just ahead of the game on this and will likely get the libraries in france to open things up sooner then they would have otherwise.

American Culture (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11748015)

Jean-Noel Jeanneney, President of the library, wrote in an editorial that he is concerned Google's initiative to digitalize volumes at five leading libraries will reflect a unipolar worldview dominated by the English language and American culture.

Dearest Jean-Noel Frogface,

American Culture already dominates the world, which is why so many other countries have citizens that speak english. Maybe if you did something productive or actually won a war people would care about france.

American Culture dominates the world, because it is based on Christianity. If America drifts twards secularism as the Europeans have, she too will die the slow death that old europe is going through.

Re:American Culture (2, Insightful)

Elranzer (851411) | more than 9 years ago | (#11748074)

No, Christianity has nothing to do with it. Nor does any other religion. Seperation of church and state, freedom of religion, remember? This is not the Religious States of Jesusland.

It's because of America's true religion: money. The church of ATM.

I am SO sorry .... (1)

ggvaidya (747058) | more than 9 years ago | (#11748021)

... but it just had to be brought up.

Cue John Cleese: Stupid american kaniggets! i spit in your general direction! Go and boil your
bottoms, sons of a silly person. I blow my nose at you, so-called Google-engine, you and all your silly American kaniggets. Your father was a hamster, and your mother smelt of edelberries!

Seriously though, why French? Why not Chinese, or Russian, or even Hindi? We must ALL have our Google book catalogs!

maybe they should start their own google..froogle? (1)

8282now (583198) | more than 9 years ago | (#11748023)

If this individual is so very keen on promoting the French language and culture,
why aren't they digitizing and making their own libraries accessible?
In stead of bitching about google?

I can't read the editorial (1)

Anonymous Writer (746272) | more than 9 years ago | (#11748029)

It's in French.

Unipolar, maybe, because google is POPULAR (1)

mattmentecky (799199) | more than 9 years ago | (#11748030)

The only way this would become "unipolar" is if around the globe, everyone used Google, and in most part, they do.
So what is there to complain about?
Should America complain that France has a "unipolar" stranglehold on the wine industry?

div style="journalism-color:yellow;" (5, Insightful)

American AC in Paris (230456) | more than 9 years ago | (#11748032)

"France National Library Attacks Google Book Effort"? What?

If you'd have bothered to read the editorial, you'd find that "attack" is perhaps not the most appropriate word to use. Rather, M. Jeanneney calls on his own country to get its act together and do the same sort of thing as Google for the sake of keeping the Internet from becoming even more of a monoculture than it is today. What, exactly, is so bad about that?

He's not attacking Google. His main point is "look at what Google is doing--we should be doing the same thing, for the sake of preserving our culture!"

Can the inflammatory headline. It's designed to get a cheap rise out of simple-minded people, and it doesn't make Slashdot look good. There's nothing wrong with what this guy is saying--and if he's attacking anybody, it's his own countrymen, not Google.

The point is moot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11748034)

Even if Google wished to create an "English-only" digital library, that is up to them.

Don't like it? Too bad.

Start your own digital library. Or don't use theirs.

Incidentally, I'd like to pose a question... (1)

Denyer (717613) | more than 9 years ago | (#11748036)

...how many people reading the Slashdot blurb can actually read the linked Le Monde article well enough to follow what the guy's saying?

I'm just curious. Personally I'm pretty rusty at French myself, but it's easy enough to get the gist. I don't see a great deal of difference between the two languages; modern English uses many words derived from French and various other languages... it simply has more vocabulary to draw from, because it isn't fussy about including new words from any source.

Damn that Google (2, Funny)

netzfreies (861790) | more than 9 years ago | (#11748044)

Interesting that Google's close to monopoly position is correctly identified. Perhaps this will convince those Google lovers who seem to forget that Google is a rapacious corporation intent on maximising shareholder return.

They do not provide a public service - search the net by hand instead!

no (2, Funny)

jameszhou2000 (811168) | more than 9 years ago | (#11748047)

i don't aglee with you. this is veli veli wrong. lere is no future for engilsh. the future of english is Hinglish and Chinglish. :-)

Search engine technology should be decentralized!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11748070)

Quite a while back I worked on a "personalization engine" for a software company that ran on top of Autonomy. It would display different content depending on what was inside someone's "profile". The internal code name for the technology was "Orwell". I am not even kidding, and I didn't find it the least bit funny. In fact, I quit because of it.

The bottom line is that the Web, which is made up of a lot of different technologies (html, http) is too centralized in its nature. Interacting with the "web" means that first and foremost, you have to start trusting a single website whom you may or not have a connection to. Even if it's your employer, there is no way *not* to have any kind of "big brother" as you interact with the web.

There are nascent efforts to provide an open source search engine (for one example see: Nutch [nutch.org] , but I also think this needs to be combined with a much more decentralized transport than HTTP, ideally one that is fundamentally "peer to peer" *and* authenticated in its nature. That way, each time you interact with other organizations, there will be a face to it and you can get a sense of how people are interacting with your personal digital profile.

This is counterproductive... (4, Insightful)

Entropius (188861) | more than 9 years ago | (#11748076)

While having a "unipolar" worldview is certainly a bad thing, this reaction seems silly. Google's indexing is, admittedly, of more benefit to Anglophones than Francophones, but it's detrimental to nobody. If the French government (or a French company) wants a similar index of French literature, they should make it themselves -- and I hope they do, since free access to information is never a bad thing. But to criticise Google for focusing on works in their native language located in libraries in their home country for a new project, however, is silly.

However, it looks like he's mostly not criticising Google but calling for a parallel effort from non-English sources. This, of course, is laudable.

(Side note: I'm generally on the side of the French in these little Franco-American spats. I saw a SUV that had a "Boycott France" bumper sticker today, and considered sticking a note under his wiper that said something to the effect of "Y'know, you have the French to thank for the philosophy of free speech that allows you to show that sticker without danger of your tires getting slashed...")

Unipolar worldview? (2, Interesting)

dsplat (73054) | more than 9 years ago | (#11748079)

This is interesting on so many levels. First of all, non-French-speaking people are as unlikely to read any French books online as non-English-speakers are to read English books. Secondly, I can't believe that English and French literature come from entirely disparate worldviews that always disagree. Third, I strongly suspect that some of the books Google will be putting online will be translations of French literature. Presumably, many of those are as faithful as possible to the original.

What a misleading headline! (5, Insightful)

bodrell (665409) | more than 9 years ago | (#11748086)

However his words may appear, Jeanneney insists that his remarks were not intended to be anti-American, and went out of his way to commend the short-term effects of Google's work as a "Messianic dream" that would "profit" under-privileged populations.
It sounds to me like more of a criticism of France's lack of effort of digitize French books than an attack on Google. It's a call-to-action for the French (or non-English) speakers to follow Google's lead if they don't want their languages to become irrelevant. It would be bad for everyone (those who speak English, French, or Swahili) to ignore non-English books, but I don't think Google plans to stop with digitizing American libraries.

"Google said..."? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11748088)

And at 2:57pm EST on February 22nd, 2005, the Google became self aware.

Seriously though, I guess I understand attributing quotes to an organization, but it'd be nice to hear specifically who said it (e.g. a talking head, the CEO, some PR guy, or an actual techy, or whoever).

Wrong translation (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11748102)

I speak french and read the editorial. The guy basically says that if the french governement doesnt invest more cash digitizing old books, english literature will totaly dominate the future of the net, even in the francosphere. He doesnt biatch about google at all.

Translated (by Google) (1)

augustz (18082) | more than 9 years ago | (#11748121)

This story is unsurprising somewhat mischarachterized. The call to action is simply for the french to get on board and make their works available, to keep a diversity of ideas out there.

How do I know this? I read the article through Google: http://tinyurl.com/4gyex

I'll see if I can post it to a following message.
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