A Problem for Google: Some Really Big Countries

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Strong as the Google brand might be, the search leader is coming up short in the search wars in big, developing markets like China and Russia and in smaller ones like the Czech Republic and South Korea, the Financial Times reported today. Consider that China's Baidu and South Korea's Naver handle about 60% of queries in their countries. And the Czech engine Seznam has 63%, while the soon-to-be publicly traded Russian search engine Yandex has 46%.

The article chalks up Google's struggles in these places to this: "Google has played second fiddle to rivals who invested much earlier, perfected their technology to work with local languages and came up with innovations that Google is now having to copy." The article doesn't dig terribly deep on how Google can fix its international problems, though CEO Eric Schmidt is quoted on the simple but surely exasperating explanation for Baidu's dominance: Chinese regulations that are unfavorable to foreign companies.

This is Google, however, so no one seemed like they were ready to jump out the window, with one exec claiming that direction from senior management was to not worry about market share and instead focus on perfecting the technology.
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