A recent article by the Economist notices yet again Naver's success in the Korean market. Naver's total domination in Korea hardly surprises anyone, but what was quite interesting was Naver's ambition to launch in other countries including the US.
... Mr. Chae [Naver CEO] says he plans to launch several more culturally specific search engines, such as “Naver California”, “Naver Korean-American” or “Naver Chinese-American”. That would be attacking Google on its home turf. Is this too ambitious? Naver say never.
Attacking Google on its home turf? Wow, when was the last time someone even dared to think about it?
So is Google now supposed to be shaken to its knees? Perhaps not yet. But don't label this as an absurdly far-fetched idea just yet. Remember Naver's tactic wouldn't be a head-on collision with Google.
Though both are called search, Naver and Google are quite different species. Naver's forte is in aggregating useful information for popular topics, often created by the users themselves (blogs and Q&A searches), and presenting such information in a very human-friendly way (heard "universal search"?). Unlike Google, Naver doesn't rely almost entirely on the brute force performance of its search algorithm.
Some users may prefer Naver's approach to search - which is what Naver hopes would be the case for the Japanese, the first foreign market the company is targeting at and putting lots of efforts in. If Naver can make a visible dent in the Japanese search market, it will then go to China, and then... who knows where else. Which is what makes Naver's Japan search, reported to be imminent to launch, all the more important.