Google Beats Baidu In Blind Test

    June 8, 2007

Google fans take note: this victory wasn’t of the runaway variety.  But a win’s a win, and a new study did indeed find that Chinese users might prefer Google over Baidu.

I say “might” because, during testing, the study’s participants didn’t know which search engine was which.  So even after their votes put Google into first place, participants may have gone home and started using Baidu again.

That would be their loss (and Google’s); “Google achieved an overall satisfactory rating from 48.2% of the 2,740 Web surfers who participated in a grueling 12-day blind test, beating Nasdaq-listed Baidu’s 39.8%,” reports Shu-Ching Jean Chen for Forbes.

And while both those numbers look kind of low, they mean that Google scored almost 23% higher than its Chinese competitor.  In fact, “Google trumped Baidu in all but entertainment,” so the American search engine giant really did rather well.

Nonetheless, Google has a lot of obstacles to overcome before it can succeed in China, and objective performance-related issues constitute a comparatively minor problem.  Instead, Google needs to worry about public opinion and government censorship.

According to CRN’s Simon Burns, “China-based consultancy Pacific Epoch said in a summary of local news reports that leading Chinese news source had ‘censored’ its ‘pro-Google’ story about the search survey after ‘controversial comments’ from its users.”  Yikes.

Anyway, the study’s findings are still a good thing for Google.  Maybe they’re a sign that the search engine can succeed, after all.