Green Light for Google Rival
Well, they're going to try their hardest, at least… and with government money, no less!
But is that allowed?
It seems so.
The European Commission has given its approval for state aid worth €120 million (US$166 million) that the German government intends pumping into a project called Theseus, a "research project for developing and testing new search technologies for the next generation Internet." (See EC Approves Theseus Aid.)
"Research will focus on semantic technologies which try to recognise the meaning of content and place it in its proper context, helping computer programs to understand the context in which data is stored," notes the EC.
Several points of interest here.
First, some of the names involved are big -- SAP AG (NYSE/Frankfurt: SAP) and Siemens AG (NYSE: SI; Frankfurt: SIE) are among the companies that will (check out the EC's effort at casual press release prose) "receive grants to act as icebreakers, opening up the potential for new R&D."
Second, the €120 million investment will be allocated between now and, er, 2011.
Ask an Internet nerd how far into the Websphere future that is, and you'll likely get a response in Klingon.
I get the feeling that in the next four years, Google, Yahoo Inc. (Nasdaq: YHOO), and a bunch of other companies will likely trump that investment and timescale in terms of figuring out the next breakthrough in search technologies.
Theseus, by the way, is "named after the character in Greek mythology who uses Ariadne's thread to navigate King Minos's maze." They don't tell 'em like they used to…
— Ray Le Maistre, Mythology Editor, Light Reading