2 Articles for 'NAVER JAPAN'
Naver launched mobile version of its recently-unveiled Japanese web search service. Called Naver Mobile Beta, the service claims to have features that are especially tailored for mobile users.
Naver Japan blog offers a couple of screen shots of Naver Mobile Beta. The screen shot on the left side shows Naver's top search keywords ("Trend Ranking"). Users can do normal searches through Naver search box, and at the same time they can also browse through popular search keywords ("passive search", if you will). The latter might be popular among mobile users who just want to "kill time" and see if there is anything interesting happening right now.
The screen shot on the right side shows the mobile version of Naver Matome, Naver Japan's unique service that tries to combine the best of search and user content generation. (More information on Naver Matome can be found here.) This particular Matome page shows Shibuya's best gourmet restaurants; Users can add their own content to this page via their mobile phones.
One interesting remark from Naver's blog post: Naver expects people will use mobile services while they consume content via other channels, such as TV or magazines. That sounds just about right, and the use of mobile for information search and content consumption will only grow, it looks.
Naver Japan search, the culmination of years of hard work by the Korean search giant, has finally been unveiled and is now available to some 5,000 beta testers. Reviews are already coming in, and based on the initial impressions and feedbacks, it looks like the service is quite well received among the closed beta testers.
What's noticeable even at the first sight is the clean UI. The Naver hallmark green hues are used quite extensively but in an eye-pleasing way. On the front page, hot search queries are placed prominently (using flash graphics), showing current memes and attracting impluse clicks.
Image from Hatena Blog
Naver uses flash graphics to create a graphically rich UI, much in contrast to the bare-bones UI of Google and Baidu. For example, images on the universal search results page are displayed with a coverflow interface (see below). And the use of flash graphics doesn't seem to particularly slow down the sites. Besides, what might also help is that Japan is already one of the top countries in the world in terms of broadband use.
Image from Hatena Blog
Naver is arguably the pioneer of universal search, where different types of search results are displayed together on one big screen so that user can find all related stuff in one place. Naver Japan gives universal search results as the default view, but in addition to universal search, Naver also offers other interesting search types (navigatable by choosing different tabs.)
In addition to image and video search, "Kuchikomi (クチコミ)" search allows searching for "what people say about this topic" and displays BBS or Q&A content. "Theme (テーマ)" search shows related topics or categories associated with a certain search keyword so that user can do search focusing on a specific category. For example, for a search term "BMW", Naver Theme search gives "Car", "Film", "Person/group", "Game", "Sports", etc. Choose "Car" and you naturally get BMW cars as search results; Choose "Person/group" and you get people related to BMW, such as team BMW race drivers.
Also "Matome (まとめ)" tries to employ user participation for search results. User can create a topic page and populate that page with content, which will be given out as search results when other people search for that topic on Matome search. User can create a links collection page, image/video collection page, quotes collection page, or custom content page for a given keyword. For instance, you can create a tell-it-all page for Macbook Pro. It's sort of a combination of Wikipedia and search, it seems.
It remains to be seen if Naver will see a similar level of success in Japan as it had in Korea, but at least this much is clear: Naver seems to have achieved a difficult feat of creating a service that's well localized for the target market, while not losing its home-brewed forte and identity. For Naver, success in the Japanese market is ever important. Japan service will be the "canary in a coalmine" for Naver, as it will tell Naver if their success formula is just a Korean thing or something that can work anywhere else in the world.