Google Enjoying A Korean Boost

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South Korea is one of the best-connected places in the world when it comes to Internet access, but until recently Google has been unable to connect in great numbers with its tech-savvy userbase.

Their upward movement in Korea against entrenched competitors like Naver and Daum hasn’t made a big dent in those sites yet. Google has seen some gains in the country, with 3.8 million unique visitors to Google’s Korean site in January.

The Korea Times reported the numbers seen by online consultancy KoreanClick were up almost 15 percent for Google from January 2006. Gmail brought in 650,000 uniques for the month too.

Compared to the locals, Google barely registers in Korea. Top Korean search engine Naver saw some 26.6 million people stop by in January. For email, Daum Communications drew 21.1 million visitors.

Trends favoring Google in Korea have been noticed, though. Daum’s numbers reflect a 5.8 percent drop from the previous January. The report cited another trend as well:

“We learned male Internet users aged between 25 and 29 moved from Naver to Google last year for some reason,” a KoreanClick researcher said.

“Google’s customer base is not a match to Naver or Daum. Yet, it is growing quickly. The pace will accelerate thanks to its policy change on Gmail.”

The change referred to means Google’s opening of Gmail to all. Previously, people needed an invitation to join Gmail and enjoy its 2,800 MB and growing storage.

Google values Korea as a market, even if they haven’t been wholly embraced in return. When Google first made its official company blog available in a language besides English, they chose Korean.

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