Baidu, a “local Chinese Google”, who leads the search engine market with over 75% share (Google only has 19 percent), is also one of the biggest and popular websites in the world. Alexa currently ranks it as the 6th popular in the world, just above Wikipedia and below Live. As do most big players in the SE industry, Baidu offers various services – such as video and image storage, website building platform, online encyclopedia, discussion forums, and more.
However, in today’s dynamic world, standing still and cherishing your achievements will very quickly lead to dethronement, at the very least. That’s why Baidu is looking to expand even further, especially when the number two Chinese website, Tencent, is also gaining ground, entering Alexa’s “world’s top 10” this month, after surpassing Twitter.
Tencent is largest internet company in China, and, with Facebook being unavailable to users, it is trying to utilize the social networking niche to compete with Baidu. The “satellite” services that are being offered by Tencent are very similar to the stated above Baidu products, making the clash between the two a “hot” battle for dominance. Baidu’s response, according to Robin Li, the CEO of the company, lies within expanding its own network of users and making it more “social”. In addition of fighting Tencent, this should also serve as additional income channel for the Chinese market leader.
Ask.com and Bing are very anxious to prove the world they can beat Google. Even in minor things, like Image Search that Bing was enhancing constantly over last several month. Or in a Search Engine Jeopardy contest, managed by Stephen Wolfram. Well, it seems Google competitors still have some work to do, as the Search Industry leader was victorious once again.
The SE Jeopardy consisted of Jeopardy questions randomly selected form a database of around 200000 that were fed into the search queries of various engines. The developers then looked at the number of correct answers that appeared in the search results page and also at the number of correct answers that were included in the page that search engines presented as the top result.
The results were as follows:
Percentage of correct answers appearing somewhere on the first page: Google – 69%; Ask.com – 68%, Bing – 63%, Yandex – 62%, Blekko – 58%, Wikipedia – 23%.
Percentage of correct answers appearing in the top result of the page: Google – 66%; Bing – 65%, Yandex – 58%, Ask.com – 51%, Blekko – 40%, Wikipedia – 29%.
Obviously Wikipedia didn’t stand too much chance, as it was only one website competing against “the whole internet”. Still, it must be noted that only about one-third of Jeopardy answers are already in Wikipedia…
As to Search Engines – Google has beaten the competition, although the margins are not that big. But based on these results, Ask and Blekko have to do a better job of listing the most relevant link at the top (see how their percentage dropped when they looked into the first document. And Bing is “almost there” – but still a fraction behind Google.
Yandex numbers were very impressive, as it is basically a local Russian search engine. If the test has been done in Russian (or at least, based on Russian Jeoprdy Analogue, “Svoya Igra”, which includes fewer questions about American culture and history) Yandex would probably beat Google – exactly as it does in the Russian Search Engine market.
In summary, nobody can beat Google in providing relevant information. Not just yet. So, when you want to know “What is” something – don’t ask and don’t bing. Google it!
Everybody knows that Yahoo US has teamed up with Bing in order to fight Google in the North American search market. In other parts of the world, however, strange things are happening.
Since the start of 2011, Yahoo and Bing are also a joint force in Australia, Mexico and Brazil. In the UK, however, the deal has not been sealed yet. And although people are saying that it is only a matter of time, noticing that certain Yahoo search results look identical to Bing and speculating about “two different indexes”, it is yet to be seen whether Yahoo UK will be powered by Bing in the end. Why not, anyway? Where will Yahoo go? To Google? Well, yes!
Yahoo! Japan, for example, has made a partnership with Google. The deal (Google US will supply the technology for Yahoo! Japan) was recently approved by the FTC (Fair Trade Commission) – a body responsible for preventing monopolization of the markets. And although the ratification is not permanent, and FTC stated they will monitor the activity of the combined team closely, it was a major hit for both Microsoft and local search engines. Yahoo US was not very happy either, but was unable to stop the move, as it only own about 30% of Yahoo! Japan.
With Google being the most popular search engine in the world, and particularly in the US, it is not yet gained enough ground in non-English speaking countries. While in India, the UK and Australia Google is the runaway leader in Search Engine competition, there are still countries in which local search engines are quite successful in opposing the G- giant. Baidu is number one in China (and there is also a new player in the SE field, supported by the government – goso.cn), and most former USSR-countries internet users (Russian speakers) prefer Yandex over Google.
Yet, Google is trying hard to get into the local markets. Recently, it has reported a successful takeover of the number one spot in Czech Republic, surpassing the local leader Seznam.cz in the first week of 2011.
Seznam, however, does not agree, stating that the statistics are not conclusive, and presents different figures, such as having almost 70% of Czech internet “population” with about 4 million users. Moreover, Seznam.cz emphasizes the misleading inaccuracy, as Google statement is based on report that takes into account both local and global pages, while Seznam only concentrates on Czech-based domains. They are also accusing Google of “refusing to participate in official measuring”.
Well, whether Google report is accurate or not is not very significant. The important fact is that Google puts an enormous amount of effort to increase the grasp of local, non-English-speaking markets.
It is widely known that Google has many local rivals in the Search Engine field. Many Russians prefer Yandex over Google, Israelis use Walla and in China there is Baidu. Most of those engines are extremely localized, providing relevant search results and successfully battling with Google in the local market – especially, since they use local language in countries with relatively low English level among computer and internet users.
Almost half-billion China-based internet users are a huge marketing potential. It seems, Chinese government has recognized it, deciding to launch a new search engine, which will be the first state-owned SE in the world. After over half a year of trial version (how do you say “beta” in Chinese?), goso.cn is now fully operational and available. The idea is to implement elements of social media into the engine – such as videos, photos and comments sharing. Mobile version is expected as well.
Of course, competing with Baidu and Google is not an easy task – but with the support of the government, goso can well become a healthy search engine alternative in few years time.