Many governments appeared threatened by Google because they feared that by allowing the American-based company into their country it would dilute their nation’s culture.
France took a very aggressive approach in trying to deter Google’s presence in their nation by developing their own, government-funded search engine called Quaero. The idea behind Quaero was to create a local, country specific search engine that would promote and respect the culture and values of the host nation. It was hoped that Quaero would encourage internet users in the host country to use the country-specific search engine, and eliminate the need for Google. The French received a verbal commitment from Germany to help them when they first initialized the project, but Germany fell out of the partnership once new leadership was established.
Germany took a similar position to France and wanted to develop its own government-funded search engine called Theseus. Germany’s main issue with Google was not only the cultural preservation, but also censorship, since the government wanted certain pages left off the search retrieval options, such as pro-Nazi websites and anti-semitic websites. The government also saw this as an investment opportunity, giving local companies the chance to pay for advertising on the search engine.
In Japan, they launched a state-funded project comprised of 10 partnerships, each tasked with a specific next-generation search function. The country hoped to use its strength in developing devices such as mobile phones and navigation systems to create a search engine.
Google should have been more mindful in raising its cultural awareness and doing the research and development necessary to help prevent these issues. Cultural sensitivity in today’s business environment is critical towards the success or failure of a company in global...