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Japanese Government Tries To Inspire Homegrown Search Challenge To Google; Devices Search

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Japanese fears that its hegemony of the electronic marketplace is waning has spurred the country’s federal government to take on the challenge of what many in the tech industry might consider a real life Godzilla: Google (NSDQ: GOOG). The Ministry of Trade has started a project to develop new search systems for electronic devices, the FT reports. The Ministry’s information service division is managing the project, which is meant to inspire Japanese electronics makers such as Sharp and Matsushita to boost the country’s competitiveness by creating a new “value added service that is personalized.”

One possible source of the country’s difficulty in making an earlier transition from a strong hardware-focused industry to one focused on software and related services is blamed on its stringent copyright laws, the piece suggests. In any case, the article notes that such government projects have a checkered past, pointing to a similar plan by France and Germany to create a joint search effort two years ago. Germany eventually withdrew from the initiative, which has not produced a notable competitor to Google so far. Still, rather than focusing on Google, Japanese officials might want to look within Asia, as Chinese search engine Baidu (NSDQ: BIDU) seems to have the best chance of competing with Google in that area.

The country-driven search response follows similar efforts in Europe by France and Germany.