Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Using Baidu

As the leading Chinese search engine, Baidu, is used by over 5 million people and has over 57 services but with limited English content or support it is literally a world apart. The main page with its sparse minimalism is familiar enough, as is the single text field for a query. But overlaying a translation differences start to come out.

First up there is some English there on the main page, as a top level search choice no less. Specifically there is a tab for 'MP3'. Which probably is less English than a technical shorthand for an audio encoding scheme. But it would be kind of funny if 20 years later long after the MP3 format is long forgotten if 'MP3' became a loan word for free digital music.

But it is weird. Consider if Google or Yahoo had a top level search tab for 搜索风云榜 right between news and shopping.

So fortunately if your Chinese is not very good you can of course make use of Google's translation tools. Which is handy. So starting with news you can just click right here to see the current results for the news page on Baidu.

The results are the mostly familiar China news, international, financial, sports entertainment and such. But there is also a page for the Olympics (which could be handy) and the international news page has a military section. Whoa. There's an addition to add to the Google News >World page. But then again why not.

The final tip is from the main page shown above is the 搜索风云榜 or 'fengyun bang' or baidu trends page. Top searches, top ten lists and yes a scrolling window of garbled stuff, like a query for 'rogue eunuchs'. Whoa again. I think this posts is done.