Let us talk about Google first, the more popular of the two. Google is a major search engine that is well-known and well-used in many countries around the world. It provides the world’s largest and most scalable platform for huge web based applications.
While Google has always been known for its superior search engine performance, Baidu is a Chinese search engine that seems to be winning against Google, in the search engine war in China. Alexa ranking shows Baidu as the fifth most popular site in terms of visitors.
Research shows that Baidu commands approximately 60% of the Chinese search engine market, while Google is said to command about 25%. China is the world’s 2nd largest search engine markets with 150 million users, with potential of increasing tremendously in the future.
People in China find Baidu better and according to them, it produces better search performance. Their strong preference for their native search engine is revealed through their advertising, which calls Google, the “clueless foreigner.”
Analysts feel that this could just be the spurious opinion of the loyal Chinese citizen. This fact is reiterated by some people who admitted to using it because it is Chinese. Studies and comparisons reveal that Google is a more superior and powerful search engine. Google presents a better experience for the user.
In a survey performed on both Baidu and Google, Google users found what they were searching for in half the time it took for Baidu users to scan. Baidu also does not clearly differentiate between sponsored links and organic search results. Then paid listings are given preference and organic listings are pushed down. Even the sponsored listings are not organized. For people used to Google and its perfectly organized results, this could prove to be an uncomfortable experience.
Baidu has often been described as “China’s Google.” This makes sense only as far appearances go, as Baidu certainly has the feel of Google, with the white home page and the use of simple colors, with a plain search box. These similarities are a deliberate attempt by Baidu to attract investors. Even the name Baidu is the same as Google as it refers to a large number, while Google is a mis-spelling of Googol, which means 10 to the power or 100.
The similarity between the two search engines ends there. If we look at the revenues; while Google made about $1.38 billion during the last quarter, Baidu had only $8.5 million to show. The reason for this is the fact that in spite of Baidu being the most visited website, the average Chinese have less money to spend and since Baidu also relies on advertising like Google, it does not get much in terms of revenue. Another crucial factor is that e-commerce has not developed yet in China and the usage of credit cards is not common.
Another reason attributed to Baidu’s success in China is the free MP3 downloads it offers. This is a traffic generating gimmick and is one of the most popular activities in China. Experts say that the search results may drop drastically if this traffic is not considered.
Although, Google is definitely more superior, it is left to be seen which search engine benefits in the long run in China, will it be China’s very own Baidu, the internet Giant, Google or search engines like Yahoo, MSN and others. Google is said to be at an advantage because of its educated and money-spending users, who have the buying power and ability to use credit cards online, which in turn attracts high paying advertisers.