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No Quaero: Good Luck With That, China

By - August 15, 2010

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China has announced it will build a state run search engine to compete with, no wait, dominate and overrun, its own semi-autonomous upstarts Baidu (CEO Robin Li is coming to Web 2 this year) and Yahoo-backed Alibaba (CEO Jack Ma came in years past).

All I can say is “Good luck with that, China.”

If search engine share is seen as equivalent to vote counts at a rigged election, I have no doubt that the Chinese state engine will have a commanding share within a year. But in the hearts and minds of sophisticated Chinese users, there will be no doubt as to what the state run service is really all about. Control.

Reminds me of a highly touted, and now forgotten, European effort to start a continental search engine called Quaero. You don’t remember it? You are not alone. Fortunately, you hang out with search geeks like me. Here’s my final piece on that albatross.

It can’t be a lot of fun to run Baidu right about now. Makes me wonder if Google knew this was coming when it chose to step out of China. If it didn’t, man, does it look smart now.


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6 thoughts on “No Quaero: Good Luck With That, China

  1. Adam says:

    OK, I’m confused–Google didn’t actually step out of China, right? I thought China had renewed their license in the end.

  2. Give the people freedom and choice – it’s what they want… who cares if it’s real freedom or real choice!
    If I lived in China and wanted to show the Party what a loyal supporter of the Party I was I’d be using the official SE – why potentially disadvantage my family by using anything else?
    They’ll build it and people will use it…

  3. mayanknayar says:

    Baidu Inc. Investors and traders on the Chinese-language Internet search provider really doing their best efforts to make it global and that was really appreciative efforts.

  4. You seem to be implying that Google is not linked to the government of the United States in any way — is that right? … and is that a plausible?

    AFAIK, Google built the polling algorithm for the government’s “open for questions” application. AFAIK, Eric Schmidt is an economic adviser to Barack Obama (President of the United States). AFAIK, Hillary Clinton has given a very well-advertised speech declaring that Google ought to be a guarantor of freedom (or something like that). I could go on, but why would I need to?

    I think an argument that goes along the lines of “Google has nothing to do with the government” would not be built on a very strong foundation.

    … but the news about China is interesting nonetheless!

    ;) nmw

  5. Hippy Hop says:

    China is doing its best to dominate the world in everything we see, from everyday products to the internet. And where does China’s power coming from? It is from the people, they have the largest population in the world and that’s real power. But they will soon break it with their one child policy. Then we talk about India in the future.

  6. Jungle says:

    @app developer

    You even dont know how wrong your conception about “who cares if it’s real freedom or real choice!”, Un-controlled right will take everything from you, e.g. if you are Baidu’s CEO, you expressed you’re loyal to the government, but you have the revenu that’s what some people likes, then you may lose everything in one night.
    But it’s lucky that, it’s every harder than before for government to do this, because it’s highly connect to outside, and people more aware about how harm it is