Friday, January 20, 2006

Asian Search Engines One Step Ahead?

China Net Investor: Asian internet companies have long been criticised for a lack of innovation and for copying successful business models from the US. In my opinion the launch of Yahoo Answers - a social networking/online community/question answering service - seems to be a remarkable event: This time western internet giants are learning from the East.

From Business Week:

Korea's NHN thumps Google at home, and it's teaching the big dogs a new trick

"(...) in its home market, NHN's search engine trounced Google's offering. Google's 4-year-old Korean-language search service accounts for less than 2% of search page views and search-related ad revenues in Korea."

"Why is Naver so popular? One reason is that Naver can deliver more relevant search results than Google can, at least on its home turf. (...) "Google has a superb search engine," says Choi Jae Hyeon, NHN's search chief. "We have, however, built up knowhow and a database by extracting knowledge from users' brains."

"What he's talking about is a three-year-old initiative called "Knowledge-In." The program lets users ask and answer questions on anything from recipes for kimchi to the composition of rocket fuel. Readers judge the responses, and the millions of folks who have answered questions are ranked as "ordinary," "knowledgeable," "highly knowledgeable," "supernatural," or -- for 22 truly prolific answerers -- "gods." "Naver is great because you get all sorts of detailed information in very specific questions and answers," says Song Han Sil, a 25-year-old pianist in Seoul. "Many of my friends don't even know that Google offers Korean-language service." The database now has some 37 million questions and answers that can get returned with search results."

China's #1 portal Officially Launches New Search Engine iAsk

"iAsk offers knowledge-based and community-based search in addition to the standard web-based search. While maintaining the power of traditional algorithm technology, Sina's iAsk offers an added bonus of users' interactivity with a unique Q&A platform. iAsk categorizes search subjects into areas of news, pictures, music, knowledge, and video and allows users to input key words and questions of their interests. iAsk then ranks sites partly by subject-specific popularity, clusters results into subject groups, and lists related link collections by experts."

From the China Tech Stories Blog: Baidu's Good Quarter

"Another new service is showing it's huge growth potential and is like a powerful magnet for many net surfers. The new service is called "Baidu Knows The Answer". It is effectively a similar show like "Wheel of Fortune" and "Jeopardy". When a user cannot find a good answer to a question, he or she simply post the question on the service. Any user can then post an answer to that question. The answers can then be rated by other users. We have seen a swarm of users coming in on almost every question with quick and mostly very high quality answers. (...) We think it is a huge hidden jewel in Baidu."


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