Those days of heading on over to the library are now a thing of the past. Now, almost every bit of needed information can be accessed with the click of a button. One of the most widely used search engines is none other than the globally used Google. Aside from Bing and Yahoo, it’s hard to believe others out there exist, and what’s more, is that they’re capable of dominating one of the largest countries on the planet. This is true for China, whose censorship law prohibits certain information from being accessed by Chinese citizens. Their equivalent?The internet giant of Baidu. It has become so popular in its home country that it managed to overthrow Google as the search engine of choice. With both Baidu and Google in the major leagues of the tech industry, how do the two differ from one another?
As a search engine, Google uses a complex algorithm that looks into the words used in the search query. This means they account for synonyms or spelling errors so as to be able to provide relevant results. They also note how specific the search is, or if it indicates a specific type of information being looked for. Apart from looking into the query, they take into account if the webpages that come out will actually answer the question being asked. The algorithm accounts for things like relevant content in the webpage and if the webpage is written in the language the search was made. Google also operates on a more international platform that that of Baidu as it is largely concentrated in China and adheres to China’s censorship and government policies. Despite the restricted access to certain content, there is still a strong sense of nationalism. Sensitive parts from China’s history may still be blocked from the public, but major events such as the Opium Wars, the Rape of Nanking, and the Taiping Rebellion can still be looked up by China’s citizens.
Baidu’s search results are based off a more monetized system compared to its competitor. Google’s organic search results have no monetary basis, while it is possible to pay money for your website to come out at the top of page on the Baidu browser. With that being noted, 40% of Baidu’s products make it onto the first page of results and they are less transparent with their ads, meaning they don’t add the “sponsored” tag. The former means that even if a website obtains the number one rank in organic search results, their website still won’t be on top of the page as Baidu places their own products first. A widely-reported flaw about the search engine is that it also has the tendency to display images of scantily-clad women despite it being irrelevant to the search at hand. It, in fact, is so popular in China with it having 82% of the nation’s search queries while Google comes at a distant second place, holding roughly 11%. In addition, it holds 80% of China’s search market. That being said, it was tailored to fit the Chinese setting as it banks on its greater understanding of the Chinese language and culture, which makes it more suited for its country of origin. While it does trump Google’s presence in China, Baidu still only accounts for a one percent market share worldwide compared to Google’s 90%.
Both are not without similarities, however. Both Baidu and Google base their displayed advertisements off their relevance to the search query that was made. Both companies also offer products not only for searching, but also for maps, music, encyclopedia, and translation. However, Google expands farther with revenue from its other endeavors that include advertising, the Android operating system, and YouTube. With this in mind, since Baidu adheres to Chinese legal requirements, it offers some China-specific services that Google does not provide to users such as a missing persons search, a senior citizen search, and a patent search.
While Baidu clearly dominates in China, Google is still seen as the greater competitor as it accounts for an international audience as well as being a more welcome place for investors, viewed as more favorably and successful on a global scale.