One of our Analysts had a Chance to Review the new homepage of Baidu – China’s leading Online Search Gateway. Large scale migration to personalized search homepage will be gradual, as both content accumulation and the form of a new user habit take time.
Lessons from Baidu’s Management even Which Google Maybe Interested in:
Users do not like dramatic change, thus Baidu simplified its previously proposed version and added back the traditional search query box, to make the top part of the homepage the same as the traditional one.
Why Slow Roll out ?
Many users are not used to the new homepage, so Baidu added the link to allow users to switch back to the traditional version right before it officially launched this personalized homepage
Baidu’s Strategy for tackling Social Networks:
By displaying users’ favorite or popular news, SNS sites and apps directly on its search homepage, Baidu intends to be a gateway of these hot SNS sites, rather than a direct competitor. We view it positively, as it leverages Baidu’s core competence (massive user traffic and expertise in matching users’ needs with relevant information) to enhance user stickiness and mitigate the user erosion from rising SNS sites.
Personalized search homepage will display only after users become a Baidu registered user and log on to their Baidu accounts. Otherwise, the traditional version with simple search query box will show up. Excluding those active users for Baidu communities (e.g. Baidu Postbar and Baidu Space), others generally do not have such a ‘log on’ habit when searching for information via Baidu.
Converting Killer Application Users into Customers
Baidu users are willing to register and log on to Tencent for IM (to connect with friends) or to Sina for Weibo (to follow celebrities/hot news). Via its new search homepage, Baidu targets to attract more registered users by easier access to favorite content/apps. Although a weaker lure than Sina Weibo or Tencent IM, it is quite hopeful given Baidu’s massive user traffic and superior technology.