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Google annexes Bibliothèque Nationale de France

Etait-ce une phony guerre toute le long?

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France's cultural imperial guard has waved the white flag at Google and handed over the keys to the Bibliothèque Nationale de France.

The French nation's citadel of learning will allow itself to be occupied by Google's battalions of book-scanning vulgarians, in what some see as a victory for Anglo Saxon cultural attitudes, according to The Times.

The Bibliothèque Nationale, which will presumably be redubbed Le Biblioplex, has spent the last four years trying to resist the Google Books juggernaut, pushing the European Union to launch its own online book repository.

Now, to the dismay of a nation famous for resisting American cultural imperialism by anointing the likes of Jerry Lewis, Barbara Streisand and Johnny Depp, it has decided to shrug its shoulders and accept a little horizontal collaboration with Silicon Valley's finest.

According to The Times, Denis Bruckmann, director of collections at the library, has taken a purely practical view of the situation.

"If Google can enable us to go faster and farther, then why not?" he reportedly said.

Brits can't afford to be too sniffy about the Bibliothèque's capitulation. The Bodelian Library at Oxford has already signed up to the program.

Still, while France might have caved, Google's cultural march is still facing resistance from the rear, with the Justice Department examining its recent deal with US authors. The EC is also tut-tuting about the program, and the German government has expressed its own reservations. ®

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