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Chinese web browser and antivirus software company Qihoo 360 (NYSE:QIHU) recently entered the search game with its own engine, challenging the established Baidu (NASDAQ:BIDU) engine. Qihoo’s browser penetration has reportedly reached up to 61 percent of web users in China, but its search engine has seen mixed results.
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Many see Qihoo as the more convenient but less powerful option. Baidu offers video and maps where Qihoo does not, and despite using the Qihoo browser, users are setting their search preference to Baidu. There is a comparison here similar to Microsoft’s (NASDAQ:MSFT) Bing and Yahoo! (NASDAQ:YHOO) trying to take on Google (NASDAQ:GOOG). Technical superiority made Google the leader. And just as Bing is looking to take on Google by making its search smarter, Qihoo is aiming to take on Baidu by opening up its platform.
Qihoo CEO Zhou Hongyi admits that his company’s 360 Search has a lot to learn from Google. The redesigned landing page, for example, takes a minimalist design page from Google’s book. Hongyi will also adopt many advertising practices, while working with smaller web companies in order to provide better results.
What Qihoo really needs is a superior product. Google is definitely an example to follow, but advertising and integration aren’t the only factors. Qihoo 360 will need to offer video, maps, and other forms of search if it wants to ensure survival against Baidu.
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