News In Brief

Baidu vs. Google: China’s search way more romantic

Melissa Kaplan Jul 22, 2010

On the profit front, China’s Baidu search engine slays the there-contentious Google. This is largely attributed to Google’s ongoing issues with the Chinese government, which helped Baidu gobble up the American engine’s market share.

What also might be helping Baidu: a romantic appeal. A literal translation of “Baidu” yields a journey into Song Dynasty poetry. The name is derived from a poem by Xin Qiji, and loosely translated, describes finding clarity within chaos:

“The poem is about a man searching for a woman at a busy festival. Together, the Chinese characters băi and dù mean “hundreds of ways,” and come out of the last lines of the poem: “Restlessly I searched for her thousands, hundreds of ways./ Suddenly I turned, and there she was in the receding light.”

A user’s loose interpretation: This engine will try to put order and beauty into my search.

Google’s name is a reference to the term googolplex, a name given to a number of 10 to an unimaginable degree. User’s loose interpretation: This engine will provide me with limitless options, however cold they are.

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