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Monday, June 30, 2008

Google China’s Universities Overview Tool

The Chinese Google Rebang site – a listing of hot searches as well as a general info directory – provides a new research tool for prospective university students in China. The tool is called Gaokao Zhuanti, which can be roughly translated to “Special Subject: College Entrance Examinations.” I asked native speaker Aaron Liang from Canada to provide more background info about this, and he says:

When the high school students in China graduate, they need to take a national exam (GaoKao) in June in order to go to college or university. After the exam, they get an answer sheet and start to evaluate their scores. Then they compare their scores with the requirement of each institution in the past and choose which one they want to go. Basically, better institutions require higher scores. This is brutal because first, the grads don’t know their true scores; second, the requirement of each institution remains unclear till they know how many students are applying and what their scores are.

Now, Aaron continues to explain, Google introduced this new service as part of Google Rebang to help “the grads to choose the institutions.” He says:

I remember that after I took the GaoKao, I got a thick book which contains information of every single college and university in this country, such as their names and locations, introductions, programs they offer, score requirements in the past few years, number of students they want from each province, etc. This service is somewhat like an electronic or online version of it. This is a really cool concept and I found that it was actually pretty easy to use.

I asked Google China to tell us more about how this new tool came about. Google China’s Jia gives more details:

... the idea came out during one of the team meetings of Rebang project. We wanted to do something for the millions of students who prepare for Gaokao. We did not crawl the data because there is no good sources on the web – they are either incomplete or incorrect sometimes. So we licensed data from Gaokao China, a partner who focused on offline gaokao service. In the future, it would be great if we could cooperate with universities so that they could feed us the data, or even with education departments so that students could search their scores directly at Google.

The details page for a university when you click on it from the overview. Here, Tsinghua University and its academies are presented, with links including pointers to related Google China image, video, map, and partner searches (Google-partnered social site Tianya Laiba).

[Via Google China blog.]


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