Friday, October 02, 2009

Baidu, baby, Baidu

Although Google sits astride the English (and Indo-European)-language Web like a colossus, their market share in Chinese is less than 25 percent and hasn't grown at all in recent years, even under the lead of celebrity hire Kai Fu Lee (who recently left Google to run his own venture fund). Search in China is dominated by Baidu, which appears to be Google's only rival in any language (eat your heart out, Quaero and Agence de l'innovation industrielle :-)

Given that China has the largest number of internet users (over 300 million and still growing very fast) and generates more search queries than the US, this is an interesting strategic development.

For a discussion of Baidu by founder Robin Li, watch this talk. The first 40 minutes or so will be old hat to any startup veteran, but the last 20 minutes is fairly interesting -- Li makes some interesting comments about the future of innovation in China. He notes that the Chinese language search index triples in size each year, whereas in English and other languages it only grows about 50% per year.

Here's a goofy idea for a sci fi story: a conversation or encounter between two big early AIs, one which evolved out of Google and its Indo-European corpus of data + "Mechanical Turk" / user input, and the other which evolved from Baidu and its primarily Sinic corpus and input. Would they be different in a fundamental way?


Ian Smith said...

Chinese is not a language.

SI said...

I think you're forgetting Naver for Korean?

Ian Smith said...

The alphabet and the fork escaped the Chinese. What does a Chinese keyboard look like?

David Coughlin said...

Hey, go figure.

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