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In Some Places, Local Search Beating Google

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the think-globally-search-locally dept.

Google 216

babooo404 points out Newsweek coverage of Google focusing on areas in which the search giant may be vulnerable. In some countries outside the US, local competition is handing Google its head. In South Korea a company called Naver dominates. And in Russia, portal site Yandex leads in both search and advertising. In the Cyrillic language market Google is a distant third in search, and Yandex is trouncing Google in the advertising arena by 70% to 2%.

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Gotta Love It (4, Insightful)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 6 years ago | (#21154567)

How some people treat everything "Google" as if it were special. It would be news worth *if* Google was beating local searches in foreign areas.

Re:Gotta Love It (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21154577)

There isn't enough tubes for Google outside of the US.

Re:Gotta Love It (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21154597)

Yandex!? Sure. If you're looking for more russian sites with free mp3's. Rambler ain't bad either.

Re:Gotta Love It (5, Insightful)

MoonFog (586818) | more than 6 years ago | (#21154643)

I agree, this is a non-story really. In Norway we have a search engine called Kvasir (kvasir.no) which is very good for Norwegian stuff. Big surprise, the big American company cannot compete on accuracy versus a search engine specialized on finding Norwegian results? This is surprising how exactly?

Re:Gotta Love It (5, Interesting)

duggi (1114563) | more than 6 years ago | (#21154803)

It is surprising thus: People (From the English speaking world) have assumed that Google is number 1. Going by its search results, it is definitely a top contender to the post.So much so that it is the common homepage for millions of internet users all over the world. The non English speaking market is generally assumed to be underdeveloped (Africa, Indian subcontinent) or Google already has something for them(Language packs). The relationship between Google and China is well known, so it is expected to dominate the Chinese and along with it, other SE Asian markets, as it did in the English speaking world. The story comes as a surprise for those who have been seeing the world in a hazy, interpolated and homogeneous manner.(I belong here too.) But after the story is published , the haziness has been removed and the story seems pretty obvious. Hence my reaction: "WTF? IS this even newsworthy?"

Re:Gotta Love It (5, Insightful)

Yetihehe (971185) | more than 6 years ago | (#21154819)

The story comes as a surprise for those who have been seeing the world in a hazy, interpolated and homogeneous manner.(I belong here too.)
So it IS newsworthy, as it helps you understand world better.

Re:Gotta Love It (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21154893)

What the fuck? The non English speaking market is assumed to be underdeveloped? I seriously hope I'm misunderstanding that quote. I mean, countries like France, Spain, Italy, Norway, Sweden, Iceland, Finland, Denmark, South Korea, Japan, all underdeveloped? Are you telling me that Americans, Brits, Irish, Australians, Canadians etc look down on the rest of the world because they don't speak English as a first language?

Re:Gotta Love It (1)

duggi (1114563) | more than 6 years ago | (#21155143)

You have misunderstood it. Africa is assumed underdeveloped, and so are Bangladesh, Bhutan, Srilanka so on which they are. India, Taiwan, etc, are assumed to be developing, and honestly, Internet is not yet integrated into public systems or private enterprises as much as you would expect as someone from developed country. For other European and Oriental countries which are deemed as developed, Google has something in place for them. And by English speaking world , i don't just say Americans, Brits, Irish, Australians, Canadians, I refer to the whole of commonwealth nations(South Africa, India, Aussies, so on). The correlation is between the preference of Google in English speaking countries and non-English speaking ones , nothing on looking down or anything.

Re:Gotta Love It (1, Insightful)

Stooshie (993666) | more than 6 years ago | (#21155211)

... Are you telling me that Americans, Brits, Irish, Australians, Canadians etc look down on the rest of the world because they don't speak English as a first language? ...

Sadly, that may well be true.

Re:Gotta Love It (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21155245)

Some of us English don't consider the Americans (those from the USA, that is) as native English speakers. It's like they speak English as a second language, but they don't have a first.

Re:Gotta Love It (0, Flamebait)

Beyond_GoodandEvil (769135) | more than 6 years ago | (#21155787)

Some of us English don't consider the Americans (those from the USA, that is) as native English speakers.
Until the Germans come calling, then it's all, "Hey Yanks come over and have some fish and chips or bangers and mash."

Re:Gotta Love It (4, Insightful)

tfreport (458641) | more than 6 years ago | (#21155441)

Come on versus how the French look down at me at my poor attempts while they visit MY country? I call bullshit.

While its fun/popular to make fun of the US and English speakers, few other language groups will praise someone for their broken sentences as they make their first attempts. Most people are pretty touchy when their tongue is mispronounced. Perhaps that is fair but I wouldn't say its English speakers looking down on others due to their language (perhaps other things but not language).

And no, most Americans do not have a second language. But why would they? Its not like a small European nation where you can travel or see people from other countries on a semi-often basis. There many parts of the US where you will go years without a foreign visitor. You could argue that people should travel to see the world but when you have a nation that is large and varied as a majority of Europe, what's the need? You have enough to do just to know your own country. Wait a few years and most Americans will at least be bilingual, the schools have really picked up the amount of Spanish taught.

Re:Gotta Love It (4, Insightful)

dintech (998802) | more than 6 years ago | (#21155495)

few other language groups will praise someone for their broken sentences as they make their first attempts.

Umm no. Japanese will often compliment you on your attempts to communicate in their language. However they are just being polite, and actually you really suck at it.

I think this is a general rule for most languages. Paradoxically, people will stop commenting on how 'good' your language skills are only when you are fluent and they don't notice your shortcomings. If someone politely comments that you speak very well in a particular language, most likely you still have some way to go.

Re:Gotta Love It (1)

Torvaun (1040898) | more than 6 years ago | (#21155669)

Or when they don't expect any ability at all, such as when they are visiting the U.S., and you have not been mentioned to them as an expert with their language. My brother speaks very fluent German. He was working as a cashier, and German tourists arrived. As they were having some trouble with English, my brother switched to German, startling and pleasing them.

Re:Gotta Love It (2, Funny)

MMC Monster (602931) | more than 6 years ago | (#21155779)

You can also have some fun by praising people of their command of their native language.

I end up with 50% confused, 50% insulted.

Re:Gotta Love It (2, Funny)

Zebedeu (739988) | more than 6 years ago | (#21155861)

I think this is a general rule for most languages. Paradoxically, people will stop commenting on how 'good' your language skills are only when you are fluent and they don't notice your shortcomings. If someone politely comments that you speak very well in a particular language, most likely you still have some way to go.
As someone who has been learning german for the past year, and getting those same compliments, I have to say to you: thanks dude, that'll really help me feel good next time I get one of those :-P

(though I agree with your post 100%)

Re:Gotta Love It (1)

digitalsolo (1175321) | more than 6 years ago | (#21155925)

This is fairly true, however I speak German fairly well (I speak the language well, however do not claim to know enough of the language well to be fluent), and have many times run into German visitors or recent immigrants at my old job as a PC tech (large German faction in this area). Several times I would catch their accent and simply speak to them in German. Apparently I faked it well enough (or they were polite enough) for them to be quite surprised when I turned to one of my employees and spoke to them in clearly American english. Each time I received compliments on how "correct" my German sounded. I guess I was just lucky they didn't say anything I didn't understand. ;) I speak a small amount of spanish, chinese and french as well, though mostly just enough to help translate the accents of those still learning English (a smattering of understanding of another language can be massively helpful in understanding someone still learning yours).

Re:Gotta Love It (1)

mrvan (973822) | more than 6 years ago | (#21155697)

few other language groups will praise someone for their broken sentences as they make their first attempts
Rubbish. Exceptions excepted, most people will appreciate it if someone tries to speak a couple words in their language. I've travelled quite a lot, mostly in europe, and wherever I come I try to learn at least the rudimentary 'tourist speak' of hello, very beautiful, thanks, and good bye, and in France and Germany I can actually hold small conversations in broken French and German. And my experience is quite simple: people love it if foreigners try to appreciate their land and language, and even the silliest little greeting in their language makes them forgive the fact that you do the rest in English or using hands and feet. One thing that English are very good at is communicating with foreigners who speak English poorly. English speakers are often good at dumbing down and slowing their language (especially compared to the French!). I think this is mainly because they have a lot of experience with people speaking their language as a second language, while for the smaller language groups it is uncommon for foreigners (esp non-migrants) to speak their language, so they have less practice with communicating. O well... :-)

Re:Gotta Love It (1)

Kitsuneymg (815431) | more than 6 years ago | (#21155717)

few other language groups will praise someone for their broken sentences as they make their first attempts
Every German I interacted with in my five year deployment (Stuttgart and Hoehenfells) was HAPPY that I had bothered to make an attempt to speak their language. They were not insulted, they did not "look ddown at me" as I attempt to master their language. That didn't stop most of them from trying to practice their English. It's a funny situation when a each person is speaking a language they are still learning.

Re:Gotta Love It (1)

damaki (997243) | more than 6 years ago | (#21155937)

Man, I don't know what kind of jerks you met but where I live, english speakers who, at least, try to speak french are respected.
French is damn hard to pronounce for foreign people, because of its *flat* stressing. People can joke about your terrible accent, of course, but you deserve respect.

Re:Gotta Love It (2, Informative)

batje (818323) | more than 6 years ago | (#21155203)

"The non English speaking market is generally assumed to be underdeveloped (Africa, Indian subcontinent) "

I think you forgot to mention the European Continent where people speak underdeveloped languages like French and German, and Asia of course, which is just slightly bigger than China alone (Indonesia alone has about 240 million inhabitants)

Besides that, English is rather well spoken in India as well as large parts of Africa, underdeveloped as they might be.

American primary education, it's tough.

Re:Gotta Love It (3, Insightful)

Tim C (15259) | more than 6 years ago | (#21155273)

Actually, I rather think that was his point - that when the average American thinks "non-English speaking country" they tend to think of places like Africa and the Indian subcontinent, forgetting that there are a great many high-tech countries with first languages other than English.

Re:Gotta Love It (1)

tsa (15680) | more than 6 years ago | (#21155393)

Keep in mind that a 'high-tech' country does not have to be a 'developed' country.

Read the whole post before overreacting (1)

edittard (805475) | more than 6 years ago | (#21155453)

I think you forgot to mention the European Continent where people speak underdeveloped languages like French and German
And I think you forgot to read the part where duggi wrote "or Google already has something for them(Language packs)". What's more he never said any languages were underdeveloped, just that in certain areas the market is.

Re:Gotta Love It (1)

blahplusplus (757119) | more than 6 years ago | (#21155323)

"But after the story is published , the haziness has been removed and the story seems pretty obvious. Hence my reaction: "WTF? IS this even newsworthy?""

Agreed on the the haziness, but logically, google was built around english so it shouldn't be that surprising that it's workers best know english and they haven't really had enogh experience in other languages, I believe that is a possibility.

A PERFECT explanation of this article: KDAWSON (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21155361)

This editor is worthless. His name is KDAWSON. Every article that he posts is vague and takes one of two forms:

  Some X action Y.

X might action Y.
 
They need to go ahead and fire this guy. All that he does all day is spews garbage, and it has become REALLY old.

mod parent up (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21155545)

up i say!

Re:Gotta Love It (1)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 6 years ago | (#21155481)

Hence my reaction: "WTF? IS this even newsworthy?"
It sort of is. One of the assumptions is that search engine technology requires a lot of hardware resources and brainpower. It's true that building a prototype index with a new algorithm doesn't require industrial scale computing farms and armies of phds, but the conventional wisdom is that if you want to compete in the big leagues, you need a lot of money, hardware, and people.

What this article is showing is that this conventional wisdom is somewhat wrong. It also implies that maybe Google is seriously underperforming for the amount of resources it has available.

Re:Gotta Love It (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21155565)

The non English speaking market is generally assumed to be underdeveloped
But this is generally true. If you don't know how to speak English then you're backward and ignorant. I don't even know why other countries continue to use other languages considering English has basically become the common language of the world in the 21st century. Languages like Norwayish, Switzerlandese and French will become as obsolete as Hebrew or Latin. People may study it for shits and giggles, but when it comes to their daily life, English will dominate.

Re:Gotta Love It (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21154929)

FYI: Kvasir is based on google with some tweaks for norwegian sites.

Nothing is certain in the search market (1)

harmonica (29841) | more than 6 years ago | (#21155075)

Big surprise, the big American company cannot compete on accuracy versus a search engine specialized on finding Norwegian results? This is surprising how exactly?

Google has good search technology, and search is automated so it doesn't really matter whether the text is Norwegian or English. In Germany Google has a market share of over 90 percent although there certainly are contenders and there is money to be made, but Google is almost a monopoly. Could be the same in Norway or Russia, but apparently isn't.

The question remains, is this a technology or a marketing issue (better search or better brand recognition)?

Re:Gotta Love It (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21155145)

I agree, this is a non-story really. In Norway we have a search engine called Kvasir (kvasir.no) which is very good for Norwegian stuff. Big surprise, the big American company cannot compete on accuracy versus a search engine specialized on finding Norwegian results? This is surprising how exactly?
Kvasir use Google for net search, and add their own directory listings and stuff on top of it. No web search engine of their own (go to their page on how to get your site indexed, and they link you directly to Google [kvasir.no] ). They did run a very successful marketing campaign hammering in the message that they where better at local stuff. And if you want the YP business listings and other extra they add, maybe.. but it is not a search engine competitor to Google, it is Google..

OTOH, (1)

hummassa (157160) | more than 6 years ago | (#21155403)

Here in Brasil Google is the best search engine. They have some good Brasilian engineers and their marketing/advertising department is pt_BR-aware, so they have good knowledge. The other search engine ("Cadê" == "where it is?") was bought by Yahoo! (That also does not really suck WRT websearch, but is no Google).

Re:Gotta Love It (1)

Jartan (219704) | more than 6 years ago | (#21155671)

In Norway we have a search engine called Kvasir (kvasir.no) which is very good for Norwegian stuff. Big surprise, the big American company cannot compete on accuracy versus a search engine specialized on finding Norwegian results? This is surprising how exactly?


How hard are they trying out of curiosity? I'm curious how many places google has failed even after putting in a full blown effort. That article about Russia sounds suspiciously like google just started there not long ago.

It would be nice to see someone actually start going up against google with new features. Google has been working on lots of non search stuff but I haven't really noticed anything "new" in searching sense they gained dominance of the market.

Re:Gotta Love It (1)

arktemplar (1060050) | more than 6 years ago | (#21155797)

This is surprising because even in Soviet Russia, Local search beats Google. (well russia isnt soviet any more but that was required for the meme)

Re:Gotta Love It (1)

ajs (35943) | more than 6 years ago | (#21155967)

I agree, this is a non-story really.
I disagree. This is a non-story to non-geeks. For the rest of us, the impact of language-specific heuristics for search weighting is very interesting. We would like to think that relevance can be assessed by looking at the structure of the Web, but as these results show, that may not be true... then again, there may be other, less technical reasons for regional success. It's an interesting thing, and IMHO, only someone who looks at this as a mainstream headline would not be intrigued.

Re:Gotta Love It (2, Informative)

Daengbo (523424) | more than 6 years ago | (#21154743)

Yeah, but here in S. Korea, I don't even think they know who Google is. That's pretty impressive. Want to do an internet search? Naver.com. Want a map? Naver. Want a friend's e-mail address? Naver. Shopping? Naver. Jeez. It's everyone's home page. It searches everything in Korea. No one uses anything else.

Re:Gotta Love It (2, Funny)

mgblst (80109) | more than 6 years ago | (#21155599)

Just went there, couldn't understand a thing. How can people really expect to use this at all?

Re:Gotta Love It (1)

Daengbo (523424) | more than 6 years ago | (#21155621)

It's in Korean by Koreans for Koreans. That might have something to do with your confusion.

Re:Gotta Love It (2, Interesting)

Threni (635302) | more than 6 years ago | (#21155113)

> How some people treat everything "Google" as if it were special.

I think Google is special. They were the first decent webmail service (ie they offered more than 10 megs or whatever, no annoying ads, POP3 access etc). They offer free mobile phone apps to read Gmail, or use Google maps. The language translation works. Google groups is great - ok, it's a bit buggy and you can't employ killfiles, but there's no other way that I know of to search Usenet archives, and it's pretty quick at that.

That's what I use - I'm sure other people use other features that I've not noticed/used. For all Microsoft's braying about innovation, they just do podgy, uncool stuff, or buy up other people's stuff and then fuck it up. Yahoo are playing catch-up in the search/email area (are they still attaching World Cup 2006 sigfiles to outgoing emails? How amusing!).

Re:Gotta Love It (2, Informative)

PRC Banker (970188) | more than 6 years ago | (#21155337)

How some people treat everything "Google" as if it were special. It would be news worth *if* Google was beating local searches in foreign areas.
Yes. In China Baidu [baidu.com] is the leader, though search is a general term covering searching many things for many people. Though apparently, Google.cn are very effective in serving and marketing to the higher revenue, more educated, higher earning customer sectors.

My main purpose for commenting was to point out the article linked solely to Newsweek pages: a Newsweek story and a couple of limp stories about searching in South Korea and Russia ALSO from Newsweek. No bad rap on Newsweek though, all the better for them linking to three of their own stories in one article.

Re:Gotta Love It (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21155459)

I live in Finland, Europe, and Google is #1 here. So, to me it was a surprise that local search engines are so strong elsewhere in the world. Everyone knows and uses Google here, the local search engines are hardly known. Funny, locals have advertised themselves quite a lot, Google hasn't, and Google is still #1.

Open source search (0)

KrackHouse (628313) | more than 6 years ago | (#21154581)

Why not rip out the guts of some p2p file sharing system and instead of files transfer links around. Search would find relevant articles instead of files. NYTimes is doing some pretty cool stuff with semantic journalism but nobody is taking advantage of it yet. If you took ID3 and applied it to articles it would be a good start. I founded a startup and we're trying to do something better than Google news for specific locations. Think Digg+Local+Slashdot comments. Nobody is really thinking about geography very hard but it's a fundamental core thing you need to get right before you can build a good local search engine. Pitching the idea to some VCs Wednesday, can't sleep for some reason :)

Re:Open source search (1)

Fulcrum of Evil (560260) | more than 6 years ago | (#21154857)

Because the thing that matters is the search algorithm, and kazaa can't handle something as huge as all the webpages dealing with a particular country.

That's not the complicated part (5, Insightful)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 6 years ago | (#21155371)

Transferring links around isn't the hard part. The hard part is to actually get something that's relevant for that search string.

Just simple lists of keywords associated with that link won't do. We already had that kind of search engines long before Google, and there's a reason why Google handed their arse to them.

And then there are the people gaming the system for a quick profit... even if it means ruining a valuable resource for everyone else. There was an almost epidemic of link spam on all possible forums and blogs, for example, just to raise the Google rank of a couple of pages.

Most of Google's uphill battle so far has been tweaking the algorithm to defend against such "attacks".

(And now that I mention it, it dawns upon me that maybe that's why smaller national engines can do better locally. With everyone trying to game Google and generally the larger English-reading world, it could be that noone bothered polluting the smaller national searches.)

So just being able to swap links around won't do much.

A second and third problems I see with your idea are, well:

1. timing. When I search for something, I'd rather not depend on the right people being online at that exact time. I also want the answer in half a second. Google does that with in-RAM indexes. I wouldn't bet a fortune on someone doing that equally fast via several hops over the net, P2P style.

2. reliability. P2P traffic has been poisoned repeatedly by interested parties, like, say, the RIAA and MPAA. And it's entirely trivial to do so. So what's to keep other interested parties from poisoning P2P search with falsely tagged links?

Even on Google, it's not entirely rare that someone buys ad-word keywords on their competitors' trademarks or such. E.g., if you have a company called, say, "Houndwire", I could buy that keyword for an ad for my company. Now everyone who searches for your company, will have my ad served to them. Then keep my fingers crossed that if I'm in roughly the same market, some people will just go ahead and buy from me. There have been even laws proposed against that kind of impersonation.

Now for adwords it's one thing, but the same could just as well be applied to poisoning a P2P search. Which could ruin its usefulness pretty fast.

170 million people worth Google's morals? (0)

speaker of the truth (1112181) | more than 6 years ago | (#21154583)

Considering Google could at most have 170 million people using it in China (and the likelihood is that it has significantly less as not all of China's 1 billion people would use the internet) worth the morals of Google's leadership? I guess the answer is yes. I know everyone has a price, but considering how many people use Google worldwide, its quite sad that Google's price is an extra 170 million pairs of eyes.

OTOH (5, Informative)

ceeam (39911) | more than 6 years ago | (#21154587)

Still, Yandex is unbelievable crap - results-quality wise. I'd say Top3 go in reverse in this parameter. But the problem I think - apart from advertising (Y had a rather big ad campaign some time ago) - is that Google seriously dropped the ball and showed huge negligence and ignorance when entering local market unprepared - for example, their engine did not even search for different wordforms and Russian of course has an ultra-developed word endings system. So - at first - Google was 99% useless. Plus - Y had been around the longest and most people simply don't care about switching.

Re:OTOH (2, Insightful)

efence (927813) | more than 6 years ago | (#21154863)

Also Google's contextual ads showing up in Gmail for mail in Russian are absolutely irrelevant to the subject most of the time as compared to mail in English. That really tells about the attention to the markets other than English-speaking.

Re:OTOH (1)

setagllib (753300) | more than 6 years ago | (#21155637)

Kind of interesting that now it's the US technology industry that really leads the world in privacy violation and propaganda (because really, what is advertising if not propaganda?) Russia has really fallen behind in controlling people's lives for power and profit.

Re:OTOH (0, Flamebait)

Bastard of Subhumani (827601) | more than 6 years ago | (#21155905)

Google's contextual ads showing up in Gmail for mail in Russian are absolutely irrelevant to the subject most of the time as compared to mail in English.
That's because it's not cost effective to target ads to people whose monthly salary is half a potato.

Newsflash! (-1, Flamebait)

pair-a-noyd (594371) | more than 6 years ago | (#21154601)

Google sucks. Google bad. Google evil..
Google doesn't serve your interests, it serves the interests of it's stock holders.

You haven't figured it out already? Damn!

There are other search engines out there. Pick a few and try them out.
Quit your bitching about profiteering Google and move on to greener fields.

Re:Newsflash! (2, Insightful)

pipatron (966506) | more than 6 years ago | (#21154693)

And these other search engines don't serve the interests of their stock holders?

Re:Newsflash! (5, Funny)

Andster (1180297) | more than 6 years ago | (#21154759)

Same reason I walk to work every day... because all damn car companies are controlled by the damn greedy stockholders.

It's 20 miles but I make it work because I'm so self-righteous.

Re:Newsflash! (0, Flamebait)

mattgreen (701203) | more than 6 years ago | (#21154935)

Wait, what about the parent is flamebait?

Oh, the fact he's making an unpopular comment about the corporate flavor of the month.

Re:Newsflash! (1, Insightful)

Seumas (6865) | more than 6 years ago | (#21155057)

It's kind of like making negative comments about Firefly, Star Wars, Star Trek or anyone who is ever (even rightfully) sued by copyright holders. You just don't voice that sort of thing here and expect to get away with it. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion -- as long as it matches everyone else's.

Re:Newsflash! (0, Offtopic)

athdemo (1153305) | more than 6 years ago | (#21155463)

Well, I'll paraphrase his post for you so that you might understand.

"Google sucks, how have you not figured this out yet? It only serves to further the interests of its stockholders.(something which may be argued about every company on the planet, how insightful) Quit talking about Google and use other search engines since Google is so obviously evil (although I have provided no insight or evidence as to why this might be the case)."

Help any?

Re:Newsflash! (0, Offtopic)

athdemo (1153305) | more than 6 years ago | (#21155683)

In keeping with the rest of this thread, how could this post possibly be modded off topic, let alone be the only post in the thread modded as such? It's a direct response to a question presented by the parent post which is, itself, not modded as off topic.

Not even going to post as AC for this because it's so absurd.

Too western? (3, Interesting)

bushboy (112290) | more than 6 years ago | (#21154625)

Perhaps in the West, we often assume that Google is the only player in town worth using.
It would be interesting to get the view of someone in South Korea, for instance, as to how useful Google is to them when compared with local/regional alternatives?

It's more than likely that Google is far too orientated around the West, both culturally and in terms of results.

Re:Too western? (3, Insightful)

fender_rules (720236) | more than 6 years ago | (#21154779)

Naver's greatest advantage lies in its 'KIN' service, which is pretty similar to what www.answers.com provides. But most people don't go to their site for web searching however. Rather they go there for fun reading all the news articles (and all those trolling comments... yeah they're actually fun sometimes), blogs, cartoons, video clips and whatever.

It's not really comparable to Google. They're apples and oranges IMHO.

As a Korean (5, Interesting)

ihavnoid (749312) | more than 6 years ago | (#21154807)

The most would-be-shocking fact is that more than half of the non-technical people doesn't even know what google is (for example, my mom). In contrast, I find most of my non-technical friends have naver.com as their first page on IE. In Korea, it's quite common to see TV commercials say "search XYZ in Naver", instead of displaying its URL.

The biggest reason is because Naver actually hosts content, rather than just indexing content. Not only that Naver is a strong search engine company, it hosts a vast amount of blogs, forums, an online game site (Hangame), user-provided knowledge base, plus third-party licensed contents (such as dictionaries, public transportation routes, news contents provided by other medias, etc.). All these contents are prohibited to robots (via robots.txt), which means Google can't even index them. Thus, no matter how great Google's search algorithm is, it will be almost impossible to match Naver's quality.

Plus, running a homepage *that looks cool* is a very complicated job for a non tech-savvy person. Thus, they don't get webhosting - they upload contents to big portals. I've even seen many small businesses forget about homepages, and instead have a blog/user-created forum/whatsoever on every major player. It would be much easier for normal users to reach them (since memorizing a URL written in a non-native language would be painful), and cheaper (near zero) to maintain.

Another downside of Google is that it DISPLAYS English search results, which would be useless to them. Yes, people are lazy enough to select the 'Search for Korean contents only'.

In terms of actual users, I believe Google would fall even further behind (far behind 10th place), since there is another big portal cyworld (http://cyworld.com/), which provides personal blogging services and web-based communities.

I use many different searching methods
  - Naver or Yahoo for local information (public transport route, looking for a place for a nice dinner, etc.)
  - Wikipedia for something that's expected to exist on an encyclopedia
  - danawa.com and enuri.com for searching best deals (equivalent to PriceGrabber or whatsoever)
  - Naver for anything else in Korean
  - Google for everything else, or if all methods above doesn't give a good enough result.

As a result, I get to use google less and wikipedia more, while naver and everything else remains somewhat constant.

Re:As a Korean (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21154865)

their dictionary, imho, is the best. and generally speaking, searching korean words on the net is such a pita. search engines do not make sense of particles and cannot separate words when they are just written with no spacing. I mean, there's a lot of ambiguity in word separation rules in korean, so it just makes harder for google. I wonder how it works in japanese....

Please NO! (2, Insightful)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 6 years ago | (#21155177)

All these contents are prohibited to robots (via robots.txt), which means Google can't even index them. Thus, no matter how great Google's search algorithm is, it will be almost impossible to match Naver's quality.

This could be the beginning of a slippery slope. Suppose Google responded by ignoring robots.txt files in Korea and protecting orkut, blogger and its own sites with robots.txt files that it does not obey itself. Up until now there has been an unwritten rule - something protected by robots.txt won't be indexed by any public search engine. The possible side-effect of breaking this rule is that robots.txt files are ignored, which can be a real pain for small scale interactive sites.

The real problem ... (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 6 years ago | (#21155305)

is the not allowing google or others to index them. If Google, Yahoo, MS or AOL were smart, they would deny indexing to search engines like this, until it is reciprocated.

Use the Money! (1)

snl2587 (1177409) | more than 6 years ago | (#21154629)

We cannot stand for this! Google, not in domination worldwide? Quick, Google: buy them out!

In Soviet Russia... (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21154631)

Google searches you! Oh wait...

in other news... (1)

Dance_Dance_Karnov (793804) | more than 6 years ago | (#21154665)

someone at google sent a memo to someone else... AT GOOGLE! story expected to be picked up by /. sports at 11.

In Soviet Russia the currency transfer trounce you (2, Insightful)

arivanov (12034) | more than 6 years ago | (#21154667)

Not surprising. Till recently Russian currency was not freely convertible.

As a result, dealing with an external broker for services was too painful to contemplate. This restriction formed a protectionist barrier on any service dealing with relatively small financial transactions. As a result companies like Google were locked out off the market in favour of the local brokers.

AFAIK they have a freely convertible currency now which changes the rules of the game back in favour of Google and from there on ... Oh well... size matters...

Re:In Soviet Russia the currency transfer trounce (5, Insightful)

Cyberax (705495) | more than 6 years ago | (#21155543)

Nope. It was fairly easy to work with foreign currency in Russia since early 90-s. Yandex was simply MUCH better than Google because Google have not supported Russian morphology until very recently.

For example, if I'm searching information about, say, the name of Putin's dog I can use the following search query:
"Imja sobaki Putina" - (the name of Putin's dog) and Yandex can find documents with the words
"Imena sobak Putina" - (the names of Putin's dogs - note the plural) or documents with the words
"Imen sobak Putina" - ([about] the names of Putin's dogs)
"Imena sobakam Putina" - another grammar case. ...

Russian morphology is MUCH MUCH more complex than in English. Yandex started working on morphological search in 1996, so it's not surprising that it's still much better than Google.

Re:In Soviet Russia the currency transfer trounce (3, Insightful)

arivanov (12034) | more than 6 years ago | (#21155961)

Interesting point... Never thought about that but it makes a lot of sense.

It is a matter of approach to morphology actually.

IIRC Google approach to morphology as a whole is to throw brute force statistical analysis at it. They use statistical models and loads of data for translation. This works wonders with languages like English who have more exemptions than grammar rules while having fairly rigid sentence ordering and relatively limited common vocabulary.

Russian is very difficult to be subjected to this approach. Due to it undergoing a forced language reform at the turn of the 20th century, russian grammar can be expressed in less than 10 pages of strict rules with around 30-40 exemptions. This grammar used to be drilled down with vengeance in Russian schools so it has not changed a bit since formulated 100 years ago.

While the rules are strict (and relatively easy) the meaning of many key grammar elements is positional-dependant. To add insult to injury it has one of the largest working day-to-day vocabularies and there are probably more ways to say the same thing than in any other language (I mean proper Russian, not "Na huja zhe tebe eto nado blad'"..

So no wonder an analytical model is more successful than statistical. Thanks for pointing it out.

Character sets? (3, Interesting)

ThirdPrize (938147) | more than 6 years ago | (#21154701)

How does Google handle all the various extended character sets out there? Can you search in Cyrillic, Chinese or even French?

Re:Character sets? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21154767)

You can search in Cyrillic (and in other alphabets too), but it only looks for the exact words in the query, i.e. no morphological search. This is often good enough if you know exactly what you're looking for, like lyrics of a song, but if the query is more abstract, local search engines always win.

Re:Character sets? (4, Informative)

rxmd (205533) | more than 6 years ago | (#21154941)

You can search in Cyrillic (and in other alphabets too), but it only looks for the exact words in the query, i.e. no morphological search.
This is actually not true anymore. For example, you can do a Google search for "Putin" [google.com] , and it will highlight results in other grammatical cases than the nominative as well. It has been like this for a year or so. It's still not very far advanced yet, but Google apparently realized that they've got catching up to do.

Re:Character sets? (1)

sisinka (916373) | more than 6 years ago | (#21155319)

Agreed, in my language - czech - there is a plethora of word endings and Google deals with it quite good. Since a few months ago, anyway.

Re:Character sets? (1)

ThirdPrize (938147) | more than 6 years ago | (#21155335)

It would be cool if you enterd a search term like "russian cars" and then Google added the russian equivalent for the search terms in and (optionally) brought back some russian sites about cars. It usually has the option to translate the page/site.

Re:Character sets? (2, Informative)

Cyberax (705495) | more than 6 years ago | (#21155557)

It still doesn't work very well. Yandex can conjugate the whole phrases and can work with composited words (words containing more than one stem). Google still uses simple word normalization.

Re:Character sets? (1)

oliderid (710055) | more than 6 years ago | (#21155353)

As far as I know (I use Google/Ms/Yahoo with French, Dutch and English), they deal perfectly well with any western characters. Even better they all manage local "mispelling" like forgetting an accent on a letter.

But one of my favorite search engine is www.alltheweb.com . I think it is Norwegian or something. Yahoo Bought them indirectly and I don't know what they plan to do with them.

Obligatory (2, Funny)

Jello B. (950817) | more than 6 years ago | (#21154703)

In Korea, only old people use Google.

Re:Obligatory (0, Offtopic)

Taleron (875810) | more than 6 years ago | (#21154961)

And in Japan, Google is not in charge of Gundam.

No no no... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21155139)

I think you ment: In Soviet Russia only old koreans google YOU!

Getting Googled... (0, Offtopic)

mrbluze (1034940) | more than 6 years ago | (#21155167)

.. that has got to be a terribly painful experience. I saw a fish get googled once... yuuuuck!

And still they continue making so much money (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21154711)

I honestly don't get it. I also know that in maps, they are not number one in many places.

Slovenia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21154757)

Najdi.si in Slovenia ;)

I'm surprised (1)

trifish (826353) | more than 6 years ago | (#21154793)

They forgot by far the biggest non-US competitor, Chinese http://www.baidu.com/ [baidu.com]

Print version of TFA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21154831)

Not that you would read it, but here's the print version [newsweek.com] .

Poor CIA/NSA (0)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 6 years ago | (#21154839)

Google as a trusted US brand would
allow the US gov to mess around with information in real time.
To push a fake story up or hold back a search term until the spin was ready.

But with different parts of the world using their own search technology,
the USA might have to do some real work if it wants real time information dominance.

The reason why NAVER in Korea tops google (5, Interesting)

holywarrior21c (933929) | more than 6 years ago | (#21154879)

I am student from Korea so i know very well about Korean websites. Naver gained popularity by providing human generated search engine and user generated contents such as imitation of yahoo's answer page. But there are no good search engine that supports Korean in the face of this planet. At least european laguages share common alphabet, that is the reason why google holds significant share on europe. But Korean is just different from English. As i search internet in Korean, neither google,naver returns reliable results. There are no search engine that supports basic functions like spell correction neither. (Lets say you type Koreea in google and it will suggest you that if you meant to type Korea) web portals and search engines in Korea are more like very well organized catalog with useful advertisements. There are long way to go in developing web search engine in Korean. In fact there are some progress done. Until the new technology is finally embedded into their websites it is just going to be good yellowbook with lots of ads. Funny thing is that when i use google i do my best to ignore all the ads. But when i use Naver, i only look at their ads. funnier things is tho, most scholars use google in Korea when searching Korean, because it has simpler interface.

mod dyoWn (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21155051)

th1s m1stake or [goat.cx]

Cyrillic Language (1)

Dr. Hok (702268) | more than 6 years ago | (#21155085)

Cyrillic is a script, not a language. We are not speaking Latin here, do we?

Re:Cyrillic Language (1)

footissimo (869107) | more than 6 years ago | (#21155141)

puteus vos es non

*awaits corrections*

The reason is mostly ignorance (2, Interesting)

temcat (873475) | more than 6 years ago | (#21155233)

Google beats the hell out of Yandex and Rambler where results relevance is concerned. It's just that people got used to these and don't bother to switch.

The Solution (1)

Bibz (849958) | more than 6 years ago | (#21155409)

Well there is an easy solution to that problem, just buy them and you'll be number 1.

FrisT stopU? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21155471)

intentions anD

China (1)

jonwil (467024) | more than 6 years ago | (#21155523)

It wouldn't surprise me if China is on this list in the near future, what with the recent action of the chinese government. Now is a good time to invest in search engines that the chinese government is not going to block...

Google is also blocked by some filters (2, Interesting)

aendeuryu (844048) | more than 6 years ago | (#21155537)

I've had interesting problems at some Internet rooms (PC Bangs) here in Korea. Every now and then you'll see odd websites blocked by some strange sort of filtering system. The one I used to go to had Fark.com blocked, Youtube blocked, ESPN was blocked, and even Google.com was blocked. Now, google.co.kr was not blocked, and when I wanted to check my analytics page, google.com/analytics was blocked, but another google analytics page accessed by https:/// [https] (not http:/// [http] was available. I'm not very bright when it comes to networks (or Korean, for that matter), so I'm not sure whose fault it was, but the webpage that came up instead had a graphic that made it clear this was to protect children.

This is NOT a widespread epidemic, but it has occurred occasionally at various internet rooms around the country under different ownership (ie: not a chain). As someone else mentioned, Naver has brand strength (company commercials approach it very similarly to the way AOL used keywords), but these sorts of filtering anomalies don't hurt.

On Yandex... (1)

saboola (655522) | more than 6 years ago | (#21155547)

..engine searches YOU

Oblig. (0)

wvmarle (1070040) | more than 6 years ago | (#21155561)

In Soviet Russia, Google searches you!

Google is No. 1 in Serbia (1)

Edgyboy (1157885) | more than 6 years ago | (#21155563)

And it's been like this since 2004/05. Although there are local portals that provide search engines, none of them can match Google results - counting those in Serbian. A few months ago, Google incorporated a Serbian Home page, a move that will only cement its position.
But, I believe that the main reason for its success is in the fact that, although Cyrillic is the official alphabet, more than 80% of all content is written in a local variation of Latin alphabet(without the q,y,x,w and with 5 additional letters).

Business (1)

Capt James McCarthy (860294) | more than 6 years ago | (#21155595)

Those are called "areas of potential growth." That's business.
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