Google doesn't seem to draw much comfort from its activities in China. Earlier this year, the world's largest media company copped some flak over the launch of Google.cn, a local version of its search engine that saves people the trouble of clicking through links that are inaccessible from China. A recent Keynote survey declared Google to be ChinaÃ¢ÂÂs Ã¢ÂÂbest search engineÃ¢Â? as far as user experience goes, but the American giant is still trailing behind local rival Baidu, which controls roughly 50% of the local market (according to some surveys).
The latest episode in the Google China saga features the unveiling of the companyÃ¢ÂÂs local name, GuGe, (pronounced Goo as in Ã¢ÂÂgooÃ¢Â? and Ge(r) as in Ã¢ÂÂgirlÃ¢Â? without the Ã¢ÂÂrlÃ¢Â?). As multinational giants forage into new markets, they are required to add a local dimension to their identity and make it easier for consumers to pronounce and remember their brand names. Most Asian languages cater for foreign names: Thai, Korean, Indian, and Vietnamese all have phonetic alphabets, and the Japanese have Katakana, a syllabary (yes, this is an English word) script commissioned exclusively to accommodate foreign words and expressions.