My thoughts on technology & Korea

mobile/ software/ technology/ korea

Is Naver falling behind in mobile web?

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It was just last week that Google Korea announced that they will be starting voice search service in Korean(link to article). It will be available on the Android devices. It seems Korean is the 8th language to have this feature. This is in a heated competition with Daum’s voice search service offered on the iPhone. The key difference is that Daum’s  is handled solely in the app itself but Google sends the recorded voice to the cloud where it is analyzed by a more powerful backend and a large existing database.

Korean blogger FutuerWalker did a quick comparison test of both companies services (link here). The winner is Google. It seems Google’s service delivers a more exact result. From most of the test cases the voice recognition was almost exact compared to Daum’s which didn’t do a good job once the search term gets long and complicated.

So what about Naver? Naver, the Korea’s dominant web search portal, is currently in the process of preparing a similar service but it will be available later this year. I’ve read an article in EToday that Naver’s search market share is dropping and there is possibility it may drop below 60%. As with many dominant players, Naver has been little late preparing for the mobile market. Daum has been better prepared and deploying better services on mobile. Daum started to provide a better mobile page for its services and moved faster to provide various Daum service apps on the iPhone. However Naver has been a bit slow regarding mobile services and is trying hard to catch up. Even Google with mere single digit market share has much better plans for the mobile market. One of the strong forces backing up Google is plethora of Android devices rolling out this year. You will have to have a Google account to use one and also as a default most of the devices will be configured with Google services. So all these Android users may help boost Google’s presence in the Korea’s mobile market. Of course Google has been better prepared for the mobile web ahead of other Korean search portals.

Now with voice search, which some people believe can be a killer mobile service, and many Android devices coming to market, Google finally has a good chance to bring some impact to the Korean market. Daum has been well prepared and has taken the lead to bring better mobile experience to the users. I’m looking forward to what these changes will bring to the search market in Korea.

* Image source: Google Korea Blog
You can also find a Youtube video of Google voice search here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GB-p2SrAv50

Written by Alan

June 21, 2010 at 11:46 pm

Is Google open as they claim to be?

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Google is accused of delaying the certification of LG’s new Android phone named Optimus Q because it’s default search engine is set to Naver, the number one search portal in Korea.Google’s market share in search has been less than 5% compared to Naver’s 75%.

Here is the Korea Herald article: click here.
Different Korean article with more info: click here.

Google has been emphasizing that they have an open platform.
Can it be true this is just a marketing statement and they want to control the platform just as Apple does with the iPhone.
Google has denied the LG’s claim but LG strongly suggests otherwise.
What I believe is that there is no free lunch.
What Google wants is wide adoption of Android so they could get more mobile ad revenue.
The best approach is to distribute a good platform for low-cost so it can be adopted widely.
Google won’t be too happy if they are not making money off their Android platform and someone else gets all the profit.
Every company serves its own interest.
Time will tell what Google really wants.

Written by Alan

June 17, 2010 at 12:55 am

Apple still not approving online music streaming apps

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It has been close to a month since Apple pulled down several music streaming apps from Korea’s popular online music services such as Bugs Music or Soribada. The main reason stated for removing the apps was due to using local payment services not approved by Apple. Well these companies fixed that and submitted the updated apps for approval but it is not getting approved and Apple Korea is keeping silent about it. There are some rumor that Apple may start iTunes music service in Korea so they are trying to remove potential competitor from the AppStore. Only available service from Apple has been the AppStore. No music, no video, even podcast service is unavailable. Many of the iPhone or iPod users created US accounts in iTunes to get better services. Many of KPOP of TV dramas are not available but at least there is something to choose from rather than having no service at all.

Today AdMob, which is the biggest mobile ad company currently owned by Google, expressed concerns regarding Apple’s new developer terms which may prohibit AdMob from providing ad service to iPhone/iPod/iPad developers. Apples seems to put more and more control on the iPhone eco-systems. I just hope they don’t over do it and collapse a good source of their income.

[update June 16]

According to Korean newspaper article there seems to be strong reason to believe that this is not about using the proper payment service set by Apple. Other apps that charge to your cell phone bill instead of using credit card have not been pulled down. Those apps are CGV(movies), MegaBox(movies) and Yes24(books). So it does seem Apple is putting pressure on the local music services that may compete with iTunes store. There is still no word from Apple yet and these companies are suffering in the meanwhile.

Written by Alan

June 11, 2010 at 12:53 am

Introduction

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Hi, I’m Alan, a software engineer working and living in Korea.
I had long wanted to write somethings about Korea.
Also I wanted to write to practice and enhance my writing skills in English.
I guess now is a good time for me to start.
I’m a engineer and is passionate about technology.
This is a big part of my life so there has to be something written about this.

Since there are numerous good blogs out there, I’ll try to focus on what is scare which is technology related to Korea.
I think we need more English content on Korea for every one to see.
Traditionally it has been specially lacking in Korean history and culture.
So many foreigners see Korea through the lens of China or Japan which can be sometimes heavily biased.
I hope this blog helps to serve other understand more about Korea but not just about technology but also regarding culture and history.
Frankly, I’m not too strong on the culture and history part but let’s see how this turn out.

Written by Alan

June 4, 2010 at 11:59 pm

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