France Searches for its Own Google

Proust had his madeleine, but today's Frenchman needs a national search engine to aid his memory. Or so says President Chirac. Pshaw, replies Julie Meyer

French President Jacques Chirac loves bold and dramatic rhetoric, but it sometimes appears to be oratory for oratory's sake. When he announced last April, "We must take the offensive and muster a massive effort," adding that Europe was in danger of losing the battle for "the power of tomorrow," one could be forgiven for thinking he was talking about defending against some terrifying new security threat. In fact, what Chirac was referring to -- during a somewhat self-congratulatory speech he gave alongside then-German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder -- was a rather bizarre plan to try to beat Google (GOOG) at its own game.

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