Google Blogoscoped

Monday, November 3, 2008

Google China’s Net Cafe Homepages

Google China offers several homepage variations, specifically tailored to be shown in Google-partnering internet cafes. For reference here’s the Google default homepage at or

Below is one for the affiliate named “icafemedia”, according to the URL parameter. The page shows boxes with pointers to things like songs or novels (I’m getting a loading message for the music content; Google China’s music search site is not available in other parts of the world):

Chinese blogger Charles Peng, who noticed this homepage in an internet cafe, writes, “I searched this word on Google, and found iCafeMedia ... is a company in Beijing specialized in developing netcafe computer system software and providing [netcafe] services.” Charles says Google may cooperate with them in China, “where most people come to the net cafes to get online for gaming or chatting with their friends.”

The following has the client parameter “cafe-w” with sections for news, music, novels, Google community Lái Ba and more:

The help avatar “Little Goo” (小谷) and the soft blue gradient is not showing on the variants above anymore, but the special homepage used to look like this a while ago:

(If you spot any other Chinese homepage variations, please comment.)

I emailed Google China’s president Lee Kai-Fu, who explains a bit of the background for these:

We actually try different types of homepages in Internet cafes, to understand users better.

When we started in China, we went to the cafes, and we found people were basically all playing games and listening to music. So we didn’t focus much on it. But later we found out that actually in smaller towns and villages, actually this is where the first-time young users learn the Internet. So it is important that we participate in this market.

Kai-Fu thinks that Google China’s search technology “is now substantially ahead of the competition” and that their “most important imperative is to get people to try us, and hope they will appreciate our quality of search experience.”

[Thanks Charles!]


Blog  |  Forum     more >> Archive | Feed | Google's blogs | About


This site unofficially covers Google™ and more with some rights reserved. Join our forum!