Friday, November 27, 2009

Google's Search Market Share and "Walled Gardens"

A comment on my previous post asked why I included the Czech Republic, along with China, Russia and South Korea, as "walled gardens." A good question.
I based the reference largely upon a September 16, 2008 article in The Financial Times, entitled "Google still struggling to conquer outposts," which included a non-Google map of the world as an interactive graphic. The article used Szenam, Baidu, Yandex, Naver and Yahoo in Japan as "local success stories." What they all have in common, according to the article, is that they (1) invested earlier and developed technologies that work with (2) the local languages.
The term "walled garden" may not be the best to describe what is happening in all of these countries. For example, China is undoubtedly the most aggressive of these countries in governmental efforts to filter, censor and control the internet. However, in the case of Korea, I believe that the overwhelming preference for Korean language, together with the fact that Naver does not really search the internet, as Google's bots do, effectively walls off most consumers here from using most of the content and applications that are out there on the web. With the arrival of the iPhone tomorrow and Android phones soon to follow, that situation may be about to change.

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