Why Do Governments Think They Can Make A Better Search Engine?

from the just-wondering dept

While it's clear that the search engines fear certain countries, some countries fear the rise of American search engines. Search Engine Watch notes that the Japanese government has rounded up 30 big technology companies and told them to create their own search engine, to hold off the power of Google. We first mentioned this plan six months ago, but it looks like it's now official. Of course, we've already seen that France is trying to do the same thing -- though, the early results suggest that no one is actually building a search engine. They're just looking for excuses to take government money for free. No matter what is going on here, it's not clear why these governments feel the need to step in. Even worse, they always seem to think that all they need to do is throw money at something and come out with their own version of whatever it is they want. That, of course, is is the wrong idea. If they actually want to compete, they shouldn't be looking to copy Google, but to figure out what unfulfilled need there is out there that Google is unlikely to solve -- and try to do that. Trying to simply catch up is a guaranteed plan for accomplishing very little.

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  • identicon
    DittoBox, 14 Jun 2006 @ 11:21pm

    Dilbert...

    Wow, eerily reminiscent of one of the latest Dilberts. The exception is of course that the desperate VC in the Dilbert strips is really the government.

    http://pag.csail.mit.edu/~adonovan/dilbert/show.php?day=19&month=5&year=2006

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    ccking, 15 Jun 2006 @ 12:24am

    Why do governments think

    Governments don't want to create a better search engine, they want to be able to control the flow and content of the information that is searched for and read by the public. The last thing they really want is an unimpeded flow of information that they can't put their own spin on. If people could actually get the unvarnished truth our dear gov't leaders would be out on their asses or in jail.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      anyonymousCoward, 15 Jun 2006 @ 1:00am

      Re: Why do governments think

      that sounds plausible except for a couple of things. the search engine won't be able to compete with google if it returns watered down results. also, google will still be available, in addition to others. so promoting a particular search engine will not actually restrict access to info on the www. countries that would fit into the framework of restricting access probably fall into the category of police states. they have something greater on their side that deters access to anti-establishement information: fear of torture and imprisonment.
      http://www.nytimes.com/2006/06/14/world/asia/14cnd-zhao.html

      if i were to venture a guess, i would say that search engine searches, and specifically results, indicate what people think and what they are interested in. i can see a govt preferring that such information is somewhat retained and avaialble internally. heard of google search history anyone?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    dorpus, 15 Jun 2006 @ 4:09am

    Because Google is Terrible?

    Google does not let me search for Japanese news. It also does a very poor job of making a distinction between Chinese and Japanese pages. On image searches, it makes no distinction at all. Google is not very popular in Japan because of these reasons. So yes, it's quite possible for other countries to produce better search engines.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      I checked, 15 Jun 2006 @ 7:19am

      Re: Because Google is Terrible?

      I just googled for japan news and got zillions of hits, in english, followed by japanese. If you use google japan, you get zillions in japanese. Did you hit the "search" button?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        dorpus, 15 Jun 2006 @ 7:58am

        Re: Re: Because Google is Terrible?

        I just googled for japan news and got zillions of hits, in english, followed by japanese. If you use google japan, you get zillions in japanese. Did you hit the "search" button?

        Google news has no search capabilities in Japanese characters. If you doubt me, I suggest you try searching Google News with the phrase "迷惑電話". Other search engines have no problems coming up with plenty of Japanese articles. If you are referring to web searches (not news), then I maintain my point that about half of the hits are written in Chinese (even when I specify Japanese-only pages).

        The only people who insist Google's Japanese capabilities are "good" are people who speak no Japanese.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Hairball, 15 Jun 2006 @ 8:07am

          Re: Re: Re: Because Google is Terrible?

          The only people who insist Google's Japanese capabilities are "good" are people who speak no Japanese.

          Yes. Damn those Americans for not speaking Japanese. And damn that American company for not speaking Japanese either. Damn them straight to hell.

          You wouldn't know a good thing if it punched you in the face. Google is the most innovative company on the internet today. They have the best search engine on the internet today. All search engines want to be like Google.

          .... The only logical explanation is that you're the Japanese translator in Microsoft's Anti-Google department.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            dorpus, 15 Jun 2006 @ 9:47am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Because Google is Terrible?

            Yes. Damn those Americans for not speaking Japanese. And damn that American company for not speaking Japanese either. Damn them straight to hell.

            You wouldn't know a good thing if it punched you in the face. Google is the most innovative company on the internet today. They have the best search engine on the internet today. All search engines want to be like Google.

            .... The only logical explanation is that you're the Japanese translator in Microsoft's Anti-Google department.


            So is this the Google's response to having no Japanese search capabilities? About "good things punching you in the nose"? Is it a product of Google's insular culture, in which high-and-mighty PhD's just treat language as a "localization issue", and never do anything about it?

            We notice that Yahoo doesn't have problems performing Japanese searches.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Brad, 15 Jun 2006 @ 5:10am

    Everyone wants to reinforce their point of view

    How long before there's a "Christian" search engine that filters out all objectionable information. No science, other faiths, or anything that doesn't support an evangelical agenda? Ditto for Islam.

    How long before there's a "conservative" (or "liberal") search engine that only returns results that support a conservative mind set?

    Same with politics. I'm sure Karl Rove would love a search engine that returned results tuned to his liking (I'm only using Karl because he's the corrupt politician in power now -- insert spin doctor of your choice.)

    It's all very dangerous as it leads to a public increasingly unaware the full spectrum of facts -- or one that insists on installing their faith as a hard fact.

    As someone said -- "Your entitled to your own opinion, but you're not entitled to your own facts."

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Right-Wing Fundamentalist, 15 Jun 2006 @ 6:17am

      Re: Everyone wants to reinforce their point of vie

      Caution: Your bias is showing! You should tuck it back in before reasonable people start to point and laugh.

      As one of those "evangelicals", I would welcome the concept of a Christian search engine. Where you are WRONG is that it would definitely search scientific information, other faiths, and I would NOT advocate forcing it on everyone as a replacement for $GOOGLE_CLONE. But I welcome choice and competition in search engines.

      Conservative and Liberal flavors would also be fine for those interested in them, although I would argue that insulating yourself from opposing opinions tends to dull your wits, and your insights and arguments become stale. It is much better to stay engaged with all types of people in thoughtful debate.

      As for Karl Rove, has he actually been convicted of anything resembling corruption, or is this just your particular slant showing its head agian? Yes, I am aware of the many arguments for "politician==corrupt", but perhaps I just missed the news stories of his arrest. I did catch the one where the Grand Jury found that there was not enough evidence for a conviction, but we all know that was just a GW government cover-up, don't we? (wink, wink)

      In closing, I would echo my profound agreement with your final statement:

      "You're entitled to your own opinion, but you're not entitled to your own facts."
      (spelling corrections mine)

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Owen, 15 Jun 2006 @ 7:33am

      Re: Everyone wants to reinforce their point of vie

      Wow...very dangerous indeed! The full spectrum of facts...how many Christians do you actually know?! I honestly don't know ANY Christians (including myself) who are anti-science. (OK, I conceed that there are some right-wing wackos out there!) You seem to be ragging on Christians for being steadfast in their beliefs, yet you sound like you're preaching your left-wing agenda to the crowd! I just love liberals...when they say "be open-minded" what it really means is "any view is fine as long as it's mine!" Why so much fear of and hate for Christians?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    LBS Dave, 15 Jun 2006 @ 5:21am

    Local search engines

    Why can't Google offer a search filter or modifier that increases the relevance of results based on location? If someone is in Japan and searching for news related to home construction, in Japan, they would probably want information from a Japanese builder. In the "Contact Us" portion of the web site is usually an address that could be used for sorting results. There are probably better ways of doing this, but that is just my first thought.

    Are you listening Google? This is a good idea to fend off competition.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Seth, 15 Jun 2006 @ 6:30am

    fear

    I believe google already has these kinds of custom filters in place. You often get different results from google.com than you do from something like google.af (google afghanistan)

    I believe the real fear motivateing these countries is the idea of haveing information controlled by an american company. Especially now given the current state of the US. As nice as it would be if these technologists would work together to create a better mouse trap, we all know that nothing meaningfull happens unless it's motivated by money or power. In this case, it's makeing sure the US dosn't develop a monopoly.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Jason, 15 Jun 2006 @ 6:31am

    There are other ways of looking at this

    Another take on this is the absurd conclusion that the governments might actually want to protect people from a monolithic filter of internet material, which Google is becoming. I mean, let's turn this around. Just like "Karl Rove would love a search engine that returned results tuned to his liking", Google can similarly target search results based on political preferences. Just look at the rise of alternative media in the US. The major networks (again, a filter between us and information, just like Google) have an obvious bias, however it was un-noticed or un-recognized until alternative media popped up. Just a thought.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Jun 2006 @ 7:16am

    Think again

    Even worse, they always seem to think that all they need to do is throw money at something and come out with their own version of whatever it is they want. That, of course, is is the wrong idea. If they actually want to compete, they shouldn't be looking to copy ...


    Yes, why haven't they learned from the massive failures of Honda and Toyota when they attempted to copy General Motors success?

    And before you say 'Honda and Toyota do it better...', maybe their search engine will too.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    J.R., 15 Jun 2006 @ 7:25am

    Why?

    Nationalistic pride. America started the internet, and we continue to change and revolutionize it more readily than any other country. It's the Next Big Thing and other countries are feeling their pride hurt. 'Sides, it's cheaper to pay out a few million to compete with us in search engines than to pay out several billion to compete with us in space...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Silver, 15 Jun 2006 @ 7:56am

    Nothing like a relaigious debate stick that in your search engine

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Mike Shizzle, 15 Jun 2006 @ 8:27am

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Leo, 15 Jun 2006 @ 8:41am

    Controlling the flow of information

    I believe that this has more to do with the fact that foreign countries are hesitant to allow Americans to dominate the flow of information. This situation is akin to the EU's efforts to build its own network of satellites instead of relying on the U.S. based GPS system (which the US government gives itself special access which is unavailable to others).

    Foreign governments are probably concerned that they will not have the ability to audit the information gathered by the search engines or (since they are essentially out of their jurisdiction) and that this will place their local companies at a competitive disadvantage... information is power, and america controls the flow of information.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Techie, 15 Jun 2006 @ 9:19am

    Everyone wants to reinforce their point of view

    I see everyone bashing this guy for his "comments"....personally I think he was just trying to make a point and just threw out some examples of search engines being made for specific types of people...

    And to Anonymous Coward, I generally like to read your response, but your constant nagging of people's misspelling are getting as old as the term "business model" ..... have you heard of the term mistyped? (by the way I checked this against ms word for grammatical and spelling errors for you ;)

    Which buy the way “outdated business model” is not necessarily outdated just because you disagree with a company or organization’s way of doing things. I can’t stand the RIAA, but the music industry’s way of doing things is not outdated until someone (maybe someone from here) comes out with a better way of doing things, and so far all I have read on here is people whining and complaining about it. I have not read or seen any articles or post to suggest a better way of the music industry to run the business.

    So I have one of my own. A friend of mine does have his own band and he has turned down a major label contract to stay independent so he can do thing the way he wants, not the label. So he is creating his own website for his band so his fans can go there and download his music. He encourages people to share his music as hopefully people will like it enough to come and pay to watch him play, which by the way he makes more money at then people buying his cd’s when they were being sold. Which if more musicians did this, it would put fear into the RIAA.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    LBS Dave, 19 Jun 2006 @ 2:26pm

    Looks someone listened

    http://www.pcworld.idg.com.au/index.php/id;454259853;fp;16;fpid;0

    The above link should bring you to an article describing Google's plan for localization of the seaarch engine. This means they are planning to improve the way the product behaves in other coubtries.

    Wow, and to think I only suggested this last week.

    ;)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    anonymous, 24 Jun 2006 @ 7:05am

    Search Engine

    The first search was created by Bill Hamilton, formerly of NSA, but who eventually left and invented Promis, which searches multiple intelligence databases. Then his technology was stolen from him by the Justice Department, then led by Edwin Meese, allegedly, and the case was heard before Congress several times. At least one witness in the case against Justice was alledegly killed.

    Here's the link:

    http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/1.01/inslaw.html

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    jahaga, 24 Jun 2006 @ 12:37pm

    oh, what about municipal wifi or network neutrality debate taken to extremes (Just Take The Networks Away From The Telcos)? Why Do Governments Think They Can BE A Better ISP?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    rohit, 20 Apr 2015 @ 2:01pm

    Best Search in the Delhi-NCR

    No 1 Local Search Engine in Delhi-NCR
    They Try a simply catch up with some guaranteed plan for accomplishing very little for the local peoples of their location...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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