Google offered an apology to search rival Sohu who complained its data was used by Google in a new Internet tool. This recent controversy highlights the intense competition in China’s booming online market where Internet companies invest heavily on search, entertainment and other features.
Sohu complained that the new tool Google used for inputting Chinese characters appeared to copy material from Sohu’s search engine, Sogou. These similarities were pointed out by Chinese web users shortly after the release of the new Google tool. Inputting the nonphonetic ideograms or characters, is a time-consuming chore and Google’s new tool offers a more convenient way for its users to input the characters. Users would type pinyin and the tool would offer suggested characters based on previous search patterns.
“We are willing to face up to our mistake, and offer an apology to users and to the Sohu company,” Google said in a recent statement.
According to iResearch, a Shanghai based internet research firm, Google has a market share of 22 percent, while industry leader Baiddu has 55 percent, and the Yahoo! China portal is third with 7.2 percent. Sogou which is the search engine for web portal Sohu, is in fourth place with 6.5 percent of the search market share.