Baidu Hi, the new Chinese Instant Messenger (IM) is in public test started from last week. Users were desperate for an invitation and discussing about it. The Chinese Internet is suddenly very Hi(gh).
In this post, we share with you some of our views on Baidu Hi, the hottest product nowadays.
The Compliments – It is just a beta version, but it is a good product. It is a good combination of MSN with tidy user interface and QQ with some good features, such as QQ Group, screen capture etc). Like many other IMs, Baidu Hi also supports voice/video chat, file transfer etc.
The Ambition – The release of Baidu Hi is reported as an ambitious step into Chinese IM market to directly compete with the giant QQ. Baidu refused to comment on this. Baidu has launched a number of services including Baidu Space, Video, Map, Music box etc, how to package them into one Baidu service is not an easy job. IM could be the solution. Microsoft has integrated its products, such as Live Space and Live Search into its MSN, and QQ has been doing this for a long time, definitely we will see Baidu follows the same strategy. The point is that Baidu now takes over 70% Chinese search market, what they potentially can do might be beyond our expectation. For your note, Baidu Space, this single produce has over 920K concurrent users, according to a report from Susquehanna Financial.
The Disappointment – I agree with Keso and Tangos. Both pointed out the Baidu Hi should have adopted open standard XMPP protocol instead of developing its own proprietary protocol. I would love to use Adium to chat with my Baidu Hi friends on mac one day, so I think it is something nice to have. But, considering XMPP is a dedicated protocol designed for near real time, extensible instant messaging and presence information (a.k.a. buddy lists), and Baidu Hi might be more than an IM in future (could be a service hub, a service integrator…), I will give it an OK. Many other popular IMs, such MSN, Skype and QQ are not XMPP supported anyway.
The Expectation – Baidu Hi might let you feel High. A long waiting, serious product coming to the monopolized Chinese IM market is a good news. However, what I see from this beta version is that Baidu is still a good follower and not an innovator. Open our eyes, take a look at iNezha‘s instant information delivery service, Pownce‘s Twitter+IM service which can send messages, links, files and events, learn from Semantic Web which make it possible for the web to understand and meet the requests of users and machines to use the web content, IM will not just be a tool for chatting and showing funny simileys, it can evolve as a digital assistant which can understand the message, send and auto-organize the event, etc. I might be wrong, but we’d better to think the trend of IM over and over.
Facebook is going to launch its Instant Messaging Service, the concept of IM has to be re-defined.