By Matt Doyle
Go back ten years ago in the U.S., when the internet was scattered with various search engines and most people had their own favorite – Yahoo, AOL, Dogpile, or Hotbot. The landscape is now completely different. Google, with its nearly 70% of market share is the undisputed king of the internet. Heck, people in the States don’t even “search online” anymore. They “Google.”
It’s not quite the same over here in China, where Google’s paltry 25.9% of market share pales in comparison to local favorite Baidu.com’s 60.1% in January. Even that big scandal last year over Baidu hiding news and offering paid searches didn’t hurt them that much.
But Google’s hasn’t given up on that elusive first place goal, and according to the BBC, they’re going to try for it by offering Chinese nationals access to free music download sites.
Only one problem: That’s not much of a trump card. Not only does Baidu already have an mp3 search, but unlike your allegedly legal one (which shares ad revenue with major record labels), Baidu’s tramples over copyrights like an elephant stampeding through anthills. Efforts to sue the online juggernaut into complying with copyright law have yet to prove fruitful.
Still, we appreciate that Google’s trying, and we like that it’s adding nifty little features like Songscreener– which helps you choose songs based on your mood, and set tones, timbres and age ranges – as well as working on a voice search.
And frankly, even if we’re as doubtful right now of Google’s future success as Baidu (and quite honestly, what do we know? We used Altavista until it folded), we welcome any and all opportunities to not pay for music.