Google redressed

Well, here are two screen-shots from today’s Google search pages.


The first one is the one that is available in all countries: the virgin white screen which offers some more options the moment you use the mouse or the keyboard. It’s the Google as we know it.

However, as we know, Google has some problems to get a strong foothold in South Korea: its 2.2% share on the search engine market is somewhat disappointing. Therefore Google Korea decided to localize the search engine’s homepage. In doing so they try to create a more viable portal for Koreans to start their journey onto the web.


Wait a minute, I’ve heard this before. Remember when MTV was putting out the same show in all countries? It was successful for some time. But then competition increased. The next thing all countries started to develop their localized versions of MTV: local presenters, native language and local performers. This move seemed quite successful to retain a large local audience.

This shows that, in the world of global media, local cultures are still quite persistent. A comforting thought… The question is when Google will follow Korea’s example in other countries.

Finding your way in Korean cyberspace

Search engines are the portals to the web. Who has the largest market share of web visitors controls people’s way into the ever expanding meta-verse (this is how Neal Stephenson called a virtual world not unlike the web, but more intricate). As a westerner you think the greatest players on this search engine market are Google by Google and Bing by Microsoft, and Yahoo as well. Not so in South Korea.


In South Korea, Google is just a minor player. Google Korea has a market share of appr. 2.2%. So, not that special. Then recently, they lost Daum’s major advertisement contract  to competitor Yahoo.

Apparently, as a last effort to increase the market share Google’s virginal search page will be revamped with news and information, blogs and photo’s. Is this a desperate last effort to have a viable Google outlet in South Korea, or is this an indication that a global mogul cannot stand it being tiny in one country?

Although Korea is a significant market, one could question why Google wants to put so much effort in increasing their market share. It’ll be more and more difficult, because the third largest search engine operator Nate (owner of Cyworld) restyled its portal, by incorporating the Cyworld logon screen onto the search page. Doing so they hope to increase traffic on their website. The ultimate goals is to take over the number 2 position from Daum.

A few things are clear. Google is not always successful. Google will localize their search page in other countries, when they need to (for whatever reason). Google will stay tiny, unless Korean industry innovates to other and new platforms. If Google wants to win over Korean hearts, it’s best they focus on Google Chrome OS, thereby creating a new following on the search engine market, and freeing Koreans from the dominant power of Microsoft. However, I think this will take quite some time.

Two in a row

Today, two of my publications went online on the website of Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication. One study, titled Consequences of media and Internet use for offline and online network capital and well-being. A causal model approach, co-authored by Ben Pelzer. This is the abstract:

This study sets out to identify relations between people’s media use, network capital as a resource, and loneliness. Unlike many studies on this topic, this study aimed to test hypotheses on a national sample, and used insights from empirical research and theoretical notions from different research areas. Data collected via telephone interviews in 2005 were analyzed with Structural Equation Modeling. The assumption that traditional and new media destroy social capital is not supported empirically.Moreover, online network capital augments offline network capital and web surfing coincides with more online socializing. However, this additional capital appears not to have benefits in terms of social support and loneliness. The reverse causal relation between loneliness and media use also could not be established.

The second study, written by Liesbeth Hermans, me and  Leen dHaenens, is on how journalists use the Internet in journalism: Internet in the Daily Life of Journalists: Explaining the use of the Internet by Work-Related Characteristics and Professional Opinions. One of the most interesting findings is that practical considerations determine the use of the Internet stronger than professional considerations such as credibility and accuracy do.