Rick and I have gone to great lengths to discuss local search engines such as Xalo.vn. I guess it’s time we shared what we think about SEs. Before it’s too late.
It’s easy to realize that in order to fight the big boys like Yahoo and Google in Vietnam, you have to speak the local language. Xalo, therefore, concentrates on its language ability and tries to present users with the most relevant results in Vietnamese. While this can be considered an advantage, it’s hard to verify whether these SE can actually surpass Google. Has anyone tested this out?
Xalo.vn also features seaches in English. But before talking about that, we need to understand that for any local search engines to win locally, they have to “cover” the entire Web space in Vietnam. This means they are able to index more Vietnamese sites than foreign competitors. It’s not an easy job. Because it requires a lot of horse power from the servers. And thus, the end-result is boilt down to technology. No-one does this indexing better than Google. They have a very sophisticated, and effective indexing system that is comprised of crappy servers. Tough fight.
And evolutions are user-driven. Certainly users don’t come to Xalo.vn for only Vietnamese queries. They want an all-in-one solution. That creates another problem. Local SEs have to cover the entire Web as far as possible. Mission impossible.
It looks like a doomed failure.
Critical as we may seem, there’re good things that, if overlooked, can undermine potentials. Let’s assume that Xalo.vn’s failed to capture the Vietnamese market with its main search engine, the question is what else they can do, and do better than others.
I’ll tell you what. Xalo.vn Blog Search is indeed far superior to Google in Vietnam. It does index a lot of blog entries from Y!360. In fact, results from Google Blog Search for Vietnam suck, for most of them come from news and forum threads. Xalo.vn gets it right.
Search results come from local forums. IMHO Xalo forum search also achieves the same relevancy as that of its Blog Search.
These two lesser used tools are pretty cool. It’s the ways we can monitor what people are talking about things on two of the most popular social platforms in Vietnam. Indeed, most Vietnamese identify their Identity 2.0 with Y!360 and Forums.
I might as well think that Xalo.vn should put Blog and Forum search as their flagship services and try to improve them instead of turning themselves into a portal that makes no sense whatsoever.