Seoul, KOREA ¶ May 18, 2012 -- Google is the most powerful and most widely used search engine on the planet. Yet, unlike many other countries, Google has not been very successful in the Korean market which has long been controlled by local web service companies like NHN, Daum, and SK Communications. To turn the table around, however, Google Korea is boosting its efforts to grow into a more strong presence in one of the most wired and info-savvy markets in the world.
Google Korea held a media conference on March 16 at the Kangnam Finance Center in Seoul to unveil a Korean-version social networking service app called Google Plus as well as K-Pop Hub, a communication channel between K-Pop stars and their fans. Google Plus is a social networking service operated by Google with a shared login scheme with other Google services like Gmail and YouTube. With the launch of the app, Google Korea plans to expand the connectivity among various Google services, in a bid to attract mobile and SNS users in Korea into Google Plus.
Google Plus has unique social features like Hangout, Hangout on Air, and Circle. Hangout enables up to 10 participants to video-chat with each other on Google Plus while sharing files or videos at the same time. Hangout on Air is a global real-time live video chatting platform. Circle is the personal social network with customized independent sub-network categories.
The Korean SNS version of Google Plus also enables mobile users to sync pictures with the personal storage on the web and share with others. It is downloadable on Google’s Play Store or Apple’s App Store. The number of global users of Google Plus now stands at around 170 million.
The platform supports three languages of Korean, Japanese, and English. For better communication among K-Pop global fans, posts by fans in each star’s profile page are accompanied with translations in English. Google plans to closely cooperate with singers and their agents to provide differentiated contents while utilizing Hangout to open an independent communication channel between stars and fans.
Google is also trying to enhance its Google search experience with the newly introduced feature of The Knowledge Graph, which would be familiar to Korean users who get used to Naver-style search engines with full of search suggestions and categorizations. It guides users to effectively search for what they want with relevant suggested results realized by the search information algorithm from the massive Google database.
Adrian Han (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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