Welcome once again to the latest in our regular series on stories of interest to companies engaging across regions and markets. In the news this week: Both Canada and France demand that Google change global search results based on local rulings; Yandex looks at 2015’s top deal-related searches; Chinese video platform iQiyi reaches five million paying subscribers; Mozilla launches cross-cultural content creation app; and Belgian city raises awareness about smartphone distraction.
Google has received orders from regulatory bodies on both sides of the Atlantic this week regarding the content of its search engine results pages (SERPs). In Europe, France has given Google just 15 days to apply Right to Be Forgotten censorship globally, after hundreds of complaints made directly to the Commission nationale de l’informatique et des libertés (CNIL) about the availability of search results on international versions of Google. The results were all removed in compliance with the European Union’s Right to be Forgotten law, which seeks to eliminate outdated and potentially negative results about individuals.
Meanwhile, in Canada, a similar situation has occurred in the wake of a trademark infringement case. Canadian company Equustek Solutions successfully had all results pointing to the guilty party, Datalink Technologies Gateways, removed from Google.ca. However, courts have been pursuing Google over its refusal to remove Datalink from all versions of Google.
Yandex’s English-language Russian Search Marketing blog has taken a closer look at the nature of searches surrounding deal finding terms. Starting with the background that 15-20% of searches are related to goods and services, it provides typical structures used by searchers seeking deals – for instance “washing machine buy cheap in Moscow” (стиральная машина купить дешево в москве) and “tow truck cheap Spb” (эвакуатор дешево спб).
The post also discusses industries where this type of search is most common (travel, furniture, clothing and medicine), touching on sectors where search is specifically growing. Medicine is a major growth area, with the number of requests for cheap medicine growing seven times between March 2014 and 2015. A decrease in searches for cheap taxis is attributed to the growth of dedicated apps and services in the last year (Yandex.Taxi and Uber).
The assumption that almost all content should be free to access has been one of the defining challenges of the online age, and in China it’s no different. With the vast majority of TV shows and movies are available entirely free of charge (albeit, supported by advertising), the premium membership model is something of a hard sell. Nonetheless, Baidu-owned iQiyi recently announced that that it has passed five million paid subscribers.
iQiyi’s monthly plan costs RMB 20 ($3.20 USD/£2.06 GBP) per month, or RMB 200 ($32.30 USD/£20.62 GBP) per year and offers content not available for free. The site isn’t actually the biggest in China – competitor Youku Tudou receives 900 million views every day. The widespread use of video sharing websites by the Chinese population reflects an appetite for video content and the strength of internet infrastructure available.
Mozilla has released a beta version of its Webmaker app, a content creation platform that aims to encourage cross-cultural sharing by allowing the “remixing” of items by other users. Though limited in its current form, the app allows users to combine text and images to create photo galleries, memes and scrapbooks, while being encouraged to form these into coherent stories or share ideas. The content is then shared socially and can be used as the basis for other users’ content – allowing for translation and adaptation.
Last September, we reported that Chinese city Chongquing had opened a “phone lane”, nominally to accommodate distracted cellphone users but actually to highlight the issue of mobile-related injuries in the city. Earlier in the same year, a similar lane was reportedly added on 18th Street, Washington DC. Now, a smartphone company in the Belgian city of Antwerp has implemented a series of “texting lanes”, once again to raise awareness of the dangers of “textwalking”.
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Street Festival photo by Flickr user Ian Muttoo
Main Department Store photo by Flickr user Jon Curnow