Talking tech since 2003

Google is a huge company.  There’s simply no doubt about that.  With grass-roots in the search and data fields, the company that stemmed as a project put together by a couple of clever students as part of a Stanford University project, has managed to build a massive enterprise that now delivers products and services to businesses and individuals all around the globe.  Gmail, the Android mobile operating system, the Google Apps product line, and of course the start engine that started it all have all helped Google get to where it is today.  While easily the most common search engine used in the United States, though, Google is up against a huge competitor in China.  If you’re not from or residing in China, it’s pretty likely that you may not have heard of Baidu yet; but in the next couple of years, I honestly think this is going to change.

Serving China, a country with four-hundred and fifty million users online, Baidu is, as it stands, a popular search engine primarily focused on the Chinese market.  The search engine in itself has been around for quite some time now, but with Google’s move to pull out of China in March of last year the search engine has become what many see as the go-to search engine in China.  And of course, with a user-base as large as China’s, the search engine has been able to grow significantly in the last few years.  Now after serving Chinese users exclusively, Baidu appears to be in the process of teaming up with American-based Microsoft Corporation in order to utilize Bing’s English results for search queries processed through the site.

At face value, one may simply think that the Chinese-based search engine was working on implementing English results.  While this is quite obvious, the better question here is why they are making this move.  Simply put, it seems as if Baidu is no longer satisfied with the user-base of Chinese Internet users, and are now interested in becoming a dominant search engine in other countries as well.  Because English is a language taught and known by people in countries throughout the world, it makes perfect sense that partnering with Microsoft to provide English results is a pretty clever route.

That said, Microsoft is doing pretty well with Bing right now.  Despite the fact that the search engine started out on a pretty weak foundation, the site has managed to reach the point where it is now handling about fourteen percent of all search queries in the United States.  Sure, this isn’t the highest of numbers, but we have to consider that Bing is in fact doing really well considering the fact that it has only been around for a few years now and is competing with Google; a search engine that has been around almost as long as mainstream Internet.

This new move will probably help Bing to expand even more.  The partnership with Baidu will allow Microsoft to expand their search engine operations into different English-speaking countries throughout the world without having to handle the end-point operations on their own.  Of course this means that Microsoft won’t benefit directly, but I really do think that Baidu’s expansion will help Microsoft in the long run.

In all honesty, I don’t think it will be very long until we see the English flavor of Baidu make its grasps on other countries throughout the world.  Personally, I think it would be best rolled out if Baidu were to gain traction in Europe prior to making its way into the American scene.  Doing so would allow the new search engine to potentially overtake Google in smaller countries prior to competing in America; a strategy that I for one think would help the company compete with Google.

But will we be using Baidu in the states anytime soon?  Because of the fact that the search engine is already established, I think they have a pretty good chance of taking off.  But really, like any other search engine in America, the biggest challenge will be winning over users who are already loyal to Google.  For Google, I think the fact that users are somewhat “cemented in” with Google’s other offerings is the best thing the company has going for it, as the well-rounded suite of products will definitely make it that much harder for a search engine such as Baidu to become dominant.

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