Skip to main content

China’s Baidu browser beta looks a lot like Chrome

Baidu browser beta
Image used with permission by copyright holder

China’s Baidu search engine may have just inked an English-language search deal with Microsoft, but the search engine firm is looking to compete with Microsoft on another front: browsers. Baidu has launched a beta version of its own Web browser, with a design that looks a lot like Google Chrome and an app marketplace that enables users to pick and choose custom modules and content.

Like Chrome, the Baidu browser features a unified search and address bar, so users don’t have to make a distinction between executing a search or entering a Web address. The browser also offers its own online app marketplace, similar to the Chrome Web Store, where users can choose applications to augment their browser experience—thousands of programs seem to be available, including tie-ins to the Youku video services and the Weibo microblog/social networking service. When users add apps, they appear on the browser home page—rather like how installed apps on mobile devices get icons.

Currently, the browser is available for Windows; Baidu hasn’t indicated whether it plans to launch versions for Mac OS X or Linux. Reports currently have the Baidu browser using Internet Explorer’s engine for basic Web browsing, while relying on WebKit for apps.

Baidu’s move into the browser market may be significant: although Internet Explorer is by far the dominant browser in the Chinese market (with an estimated 62 percent share), Baidu is by far the dominant player in Chinese search, with an estimated 75 percent of the market. Baidu’s momentum could lead to rapid adoption of its browser, giving Microsoft a serious challenge and potentially creating an ecosystem for apps and services that tie into the Baidu browser. Chrome already has an Web Store, but Chrome’s share of the Chinese market is less than two percent; Firefox is in about the same boat.

Baidu may also see competition from other Chinese firms with their own browsers: Alibaba, Tencent, and Sogou are also putting their toes in the browser market.

Editors' Recommendations

Geoff Duncan
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Geoff Duncan writes, programs, edits, plays music, and delights in making software misbehave. He's probably the only member…
Windows 11 is blocking an app that lets you switch browsers to Google Chrome
Empty folders on Windows 11.

Windows 11 is now blocking the popular app EdgeDeflector, which provides better ability to select alternative web browsers.

The discovery was made in a new build of Windows 11 through the Insider Program, where Microsoft is now blocking applications that sidestep certain restrictions to change web browsers within the operating system.

Read more
Trump administration looking at banning business with China’s largest chipmaker
Trump stylized image

The Trump administration is reportedly looking into adding China's largest chipmaker to the Commerce Department's entity list, which will severely restrict the company's business with U.S. firms.

A spokeswoman told Reuters that the Defense Department was working with other agencies to determine whether Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation should be blacklisted, similar to the treatment against other Chinese companies such as Huawei and ZTE.

Read more
Web 4.0? With a new Edge beta, Microsoft is rethinking the browser
edge beta 2019 microsoft ignite screen crop alpha

A new version of the Edge browser seamlessly merges local intranet information with the Internet at large. Image used with permission by copyright holder

In the 90s, the Internet was a scattered collection of websites, most of ‘em pretty crummy. In the aughts, Web 2.0 brought social media and user-generated content, and Web 3.0 heralded the power of machines to process information and understand the contents of pages. Along the way, companies like Mozilla, Microsoft, and Google evolved their Web browsers to keep pace with the changing nature of websites. But there’s still plenty of room left for growth.

Read more