April 11th, 2009
This last week in class has seen me discussing with the students why Baidu is #1 and Google a distant second in China’s search engine market, and I’m sure as shit no expert on such matters, but the consensus from class discussions is that Baidu offers services matching what Chinese web surfers want that Google is only just starting to learn about.
[aside: inevitably, 百度知道 is the first example of something Baidu does, to which my natural response is “百度什么都不知道”]
And then I come across this post at WSJ’s China Journal about Baidu’s new ‘Elderly Search’- and no, it’s not a service allowing you to track errant Alzheimers patients in your family- and I’m thinking, that’s precisely the point. I mean, how hard is this to figure out? Quoting from WSJ’s post:
It features larger fonts and a menu of search selections tailored for a more mature audience, from revolutionary song downloads to online forums on Tai Chi and keeping pet birds, popular pastimes among China’s retirees. The design emphasizes clicking instead of typing in order to help older users who might not find it easy to type Romanized Chinese (or pinyin) to produce characters for their searches.
Looks, smells, tastes, and feels a hell of a lot like common sense to me.