Microsoft got its Internet Explorer, Google has its Chrome, so there is no reason that the leading web search giant, Baidu should not have its own browser. Today, Baidu finally released its rumored browser. I spent some time testing it out. My comments:
It’s a disappointing browser and a few people will even hate it; but if you consider it as a lite version or the core of a cloud operating system, it sounds promising.
Baidu Browser has a very neat design. It looks like Chrome obviously, but some parts of the design are even better than that, e.g. the default page (i.e. the App-Box page). The Apps can be placed into multiple screens on the default page. You can just drap&drop one app to another screen and switch the screens easily. The idea is probably from iOS’ multi-screens but Baidu managed to get it nice developed on a browser .
Nowaday when we talk about browser, we need first think of its HTML5 compatibility. It should be the highlight if one browser has the best support to latest HTML5/CSS standard. But on the official page of Baidu Browser, I found nothing about HTML5. We don’t even know how it supports HTML5, what’s the core engine etc. Well, this sounds a bit too geeky, but please note that the Chinese browser market is already messed up. IE6/IE7 still quite popular, Firefox/Opera/Chrome are just for techi guys; local browser such as 360 browser (by 360) etc is popular but they are using IE engine. It’s painful for web developers who have to test one simple feature/effect on different browsers. Baidu Browser only scores 40 out of 450 in HTML5 compatibility test. Baidu should be the best company to take this responsibility, but I am disappointed it just ignores it.
Instead, What Baidu Browser is to sell its >30,000 web applications. It’s actually a part of Baidu’s Box Computing framework which enable users access the web-based service/applications such as flash games, travel service, videos when they are doing the search. Currently on Baidu Browser’s App Box page, we see featured applications like News from Sina, Video from Qiyi and Youku, Music from Xiami and Douban FM, Weibo from Sina and Tencent, E-commerce from Taobao, Games from 4399 etc. It is indeed convenient.
This is what Chrome OS or startup like JoliCloud are trying to achieve, the Cloud-based Operating System in which all the applications are basically web-based.
Given the fact that Baidu is dominating the local web search market, Baidu Browser is really a threat to local browser market. So what we expect next? a mobile browser maybe, or we can just call it a mobile operating system?