Jean-Noël Jeanneney, president of France’s Bibliotheque Nationale, tells Wired that Europe’s online library project, inspired by news of Google’s pact with major libraries:
is not so much about France’s and Europe’s dependence on U.S. technology, but instead addresses concerns about the historical footprint that Google will make. If Google’s power remains unchecked, Jeanneney argues, it could unconsciously taint how future generations perceive and interpret not only the internet but the whole sweep of Western history and culture.
“The main issue of this project is not one that involves national pride, but it is necessary that the history of the planet (in the digital world) be communicated not only through an American medium…. Today, journalists as well as educators increasingly use the internet and, specifically, search engines, such as Google, to do their research,” Jeanneney said, “which shows how it is essential that there is multilateralism, not in the military or diplomatic sense, but in how information is made available and distributed around the planet during the decades and centuries to come.”
(Via That Brutal Joint.)
See also: a comparison between Google and Wal-Mart.