I Blow My Nose At You…..Filthy Google Dogs. You have to love the French….well actually as a Brit by birth I was trained to hate the French and all things Frenchy..it’s a mutual affection. We are forced to learn their language at school and are forced to endure their snooty waiters in restaurants especially now that the center of Paris is a short train ride from the center of London. So it was with some amusement that I followed the most recent episode in “Le Google Wars.”
The chance is you haven’t been following this fascinating debate. The long and the short of it is that France (as always) is dedicated to protecting their “culture” especially their news organizations, and see all things online especially all things American as a threat to their continued glorious existence. To provide funds to bolster their beleaguered news and arts industry they proposed a tax on online commerce especially search advertising aimed directly at the hated Google to repay them for the content plundered by Ze Damn Yankees.
This “Google Tax” has little real chance of passing as similar taxes have already been struck down but it’s made for some lively debate. Google defends its self by pointing out that it sends over 4 billion clicks to French media thus making it crucial for continued promulgation of all things French. The French pushed the issue and Google recently replied that they would be “unable” to accept such a tax and would be forced to stop indexing and linking to French sites in their index. I just did a quick check and it looks like there are about 4.5 Billion French pages in the index..including .FR, French Region and Language pages so it’s not a trivial threat. Imagine you suddenly had to live without Google? Mon Dieu! There would be rioting in the streets….or at least frowning in the coffee shops.
In reality I suspect this is all a storm in a tasse de thé. This has been a long running sore in the US and several other EU countries. Sabers and mice are rattled harsh words are exchanged and nothing really changes. Moaning about Google indexing your content without paying enough (or anything) is a lot like complaining about the weather in Paris. In the morning if you look out and can see the Eiffel Tower…it’s going to rain…if you can’t…it’s already raining.