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Tencent launches trends search feature on WeChat
Tencent rolled out Thursday a new feature called “WeChat Index”, a Google Trends equivalent, on its popular messaging app Wechat, local media is reporting (in Chinese).
The Chinese internet giant says the new feature is a mobile indexing based on WeChat’s large data analysis. Currently, the index allows users to track the dynamic change of keywords in 7 days, 30 days and 90 days.
WeChat claims that its in-app index can not only help users capture popular words and get acquainted with search trends, but help the government and businesses acquire timely public opinions and make responses effectively. In addition, the new feature can help marketers generate customer insights for accurate marketing.
TechNode tested the new function with searches on WeChat for “Andrew Ng”, former head of Baidu’s AI department, and the following appears.
As can be seen, the index peaked on March 22, when the Chinese-American AI expert announced his resignation from the Chinese search giant.
To use the new feature, users should first click the search icon on their WeChat app, then enter Chinese words “微信指数” (WeChat Index in English) into the search bar. Tap on “Search”, and the “微信指数” icon will appear, then you can search whatever topics you are interested.
In short, we can find out what the most popular searches are on the WeChat. Take the most popular bike-rental startups ofo and “摩拜” (Mobike) for instance. The index may provide a glimpse of the popularity of the two bike-rental giants among Wechat users. It appears that the number of searches for “摩拜” is higher.
Tencent’s two competitors Baidu and AIibaba have also introduced similar index tools before. Baidu launched its PC terminal-targeted Baidu Index 1.0 beta version as early as in July 2006.
Taobao Index (“淘宝指数” in Chinese) was launched at the end of 2011 to allow users to grasp the shopping trends on its Taobao marketplace but went offline last March after Alibaba said they wanted to better integrate data platforms.
According to Tencent’s 2016 annual results, WeChat gathered 889 million monthly active users, a rise of 28% year on year.
WeChat Index may overtake its Baidu rival to become the most credible trend indicator, as it can collect more user behavior data thanks to such a colossal user base and the fact that user activities are getting immersive on WeChat, with the launch of more and more functionalities such as the “mini-apps” (“小程序” in Chinese) and WeChat payment.