Google Gearing Up to Take on Baidu in China

February 7th, 2008 at 12:00 am


Google is the most widely used search engine in the world.  China has the largest number of internet users in teh world.  Baidu is the leading search engine in China.

Google has been in China for 3 years trying to dominate the search engine market there as they did the rest of the world.  However, the Chinese are still using Baidu, a locally based search engine tha’s probably the first place on the internet Chinese go to.   Google’s attempts to dominate over Baidu have not gotten them anywhere close yet and now they will be trying to get even with Baidu by giving free music.

Baidu is popular mostly because of their search results that provide links to free downloadable unlicensed music.  Of course, Google would like to do the same but US laws prohibit them as well as the music industry.  Now, since they can’t just list unlicensed music in China, they’re giving it away for free.

Google is currently in talks with music labels Universal, EMI and BMG who if they agree, will provide free high quality music downloads in China.  To protect the content for some other reasons, the files will have a digital water mark that tracks the music and scrapes information off people who download them (which information exactly, I’m not sure).  Anyway, this information will be used for targetted marketing and advertising purposes.

Furthermore, Google is also in talks with, a Beijing-based Web site that currently sells licensed music downloads, to provide paid music downloads with value-added features such as ringtones and concert listings.

Google is hoping that this strategy can win over Baidu users to their platform and dominate the Chinese search engine market.  However, the process and partnerships needed might cause more problems than Google is expecting.  Baidu is displaying links to downloadable unlicensed music in their home turf where their laws are looser than in the states so they get away with it.

Well Google, I like free and less ads, I’m goin’ with Baidu on this one.