Local competitors threaten Google on several fronts

I have followed Googles struggle in China with Baidu, and today I read an article about the Korean search engine Naver. According to Businessweek took Google only 1.7% of 4.28 billion queries in Korea, compared to Naver’s 69.7%. Naver is also expected to sell almost $600 million in online ads in 007, nearly half of the country’s total.

Reasons behind this is believed to be that it can deliver more relevant search results for local users than Google can. A very popular service is “Knowledge-in” that consists of user-created questions and answers, which make up for the lack of Korean language content on the web.

In Singapore, a new search engine has reported to be crawling the Singaporean web. Called SPH Search, it promises “Food, facts or fun, SPH Search will give you results related to Singapore”. The search engine, that is a joint venture between media company Singapore Press Holdings and Norwegian media group Schibsted ASA, are to be launched sometime in the beginning of next year according to The Electric New Paper. A little funny that they put food first. I have never used a search engine for finding food….but then I live in China and don’t cook of course…

Maybe this is an opportunity and a change we will see. User-generated content such as at Wikipedia provides lot of value to information searchers and Naver gave a good example of it in Korea. Searching for information in english on Google provides a lot of commercial and non interesting content. Then have local engines such as Baidu and Naver appeared to be better at finding local content which should be very important. The questions is where the difference is between a local portal and a local search engine? Can at least conclude that there is a need for engines/portals that provide relevant and good local content and services, and this can threaten Google’s position.

~ by Andreas Sigurdsson on August 13, 2007.

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