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Baidu Search Engine Review | TechRadar

Baidu is the leading search engine in China – you can think of it as the Google of China. And while Google has a global presence and can be accessed by Chinese users (to some extent), Baidu is the search engine of choice there.

For US and English speaking users, know this: Although Baidu loads in Mandarin first, you can easily change its settings to browse in English.

Chrome translation settings

If you are using Chrome, you can ask Google’s browser to automatically translate pages that are not in your preferred language (Image credit: Google)

To make this change, it is better to use Google Chrome. Click it Three points at the top right of the page, then choose Settings. Go to Advanced> Languages, and set the This language is used when translating pages Possibility of English (or whatever language you prefer). Then make sure the toggle next to Offer to translate pages that are not in a language you read is on. (The languages ​​you’ve told Chrome you’re reading are listed in this section, just above Add languages.)

Chrome Pages Icon

You can also manually translate pages by clicking the Pages icon in the Chrome address bar (Image credit: Baidu)

When you go to Baidu – or any other site that isn’t in a language you read – you should get a pop-up to translate it. If you don’t or if you accidentally close it, click the Pages icon in the address bar. By clicking on it, you will be able to choose your language, which will translate the page.

Some products

Like Google, Baidu offers many products in addition to a search engine and a browser. (Image credit: Baidu)

Characteristics

Baidu can be compared to Google in terms of products, which go beyond simple search. Baidu offers services like maps, multimedia, and a Wikipedia-like website, among others.

For advertisers, such as brands that want to promote products or services to a Chinese audience, there is a advertising platform similar to that of Google. You can bid on keywords, which will trigger display ads. There is also the option of paying for a higher placement in search results.

Privacy

by Baidu privacy policy is brief and easy to understand. The search engine collects and uses your personal information, in particular to personalize your search experience, but does not disclose it to third parties. Baidu also uses tracking cookies. The website says that you can refuse tracking cookies, which you should be able to do in your browser.

It looks like you need a login to access the privacy settings of the search engine in order to make changes, and the login page doesn’t seem to translate. Basically, you should be comfortable with the out-of-the-box privacy settings that Baidu offers and whatever else you can do with your browser – that’s probably the best insurance you’ll get.

User experience

Baidu’s English translation isn’t perfect, and reading the results might seem a bit awkward – but there’s a good chance you’re not using Baidu as your primary search engine, and getting a glimpse of the best results. of China is the real draw.

Also, using Baidu and getting the most accurate search results takes some effort. Baidu is designed to work with Chinese, not English, so searching in English will not give you full results. Instead, you need to search in Chinese.

English search results

The language you use to search in Baidu will cause different results to be displayed (Image credit: Baidu)

For example, a search for “Disneyland” in English returns nearly 16 million results.

Chinese search results

For example, searching for “Disneyland” in Chinese provides more specific information about Shanghai Disney. (Image credit: Baidu)

But searching for “Disneyland” in Chinese (more info on how to do it in a second) returns 100 million results, and they target Shanghai Disney more.

This is important because if you are marketing to a Chinese audience, you need to know what they see when they search for a specific term in Chinese, not English. You can do this by keeping the page translation set to English, but instead of entering your search term in English, go to Google Translate. To select English in the first box and Simplified Chinese) in the drop-down list of the second box. Translate your search text, then copy and paste the Chinese characters into the Baidu search box.

Platforms

Baidu can be accessed through Baidu.com, and it is best to use the search engine on Chrome for translation tools.

Don’t be fooled by the “Baidu in English” website which will probably be among the top results if you search for “Baidu”. While this search engine claims to return the same results as Baidu.com when you search in English, it also states that it is in no way affiliated with Baidu.

The competition

While Google is its biggest competitor globally, Baidu is the number one search engine in China (Google is heavily blocked for Chinese users). Additionally, Baidu focuses on the domestic market, while Google has global reach. Additionally, Baidu does a better job than Google at understanding Chinese searches – it has a more complex search algorithm to match the complex native language.

Final verdict

The regular internet user may not need Baidu, but for brands or designers who want to reach a Chinese market, it is an unrivaled tool.

Searching with Baidu and getting the best possible results takes some effort when it comes to translating text to and from Chinese. You need to set the homepage and results pages to your preferred language (which doesn’t always auto-fill, so you need to click to translate), but you need to search in Chinese, which requires translating your search text from English.

If you don’t mind the somewhat long approach and you are either very interested in Chinese culture or trying to reach a Chinese audience, Baidu is the go-to search engine to use. There are plenty of products to try out as well, and while you may not need them on a daily basis, they can be helpful in understanding what Chinese audiences are interested in.


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Cheryl A. Hudson

The author Cheryl A. Hudson

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