Quite Literally, Chinese Aren't Saying 'Google'

Language barrier keeps search engine a bit player in big market
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Dec 12, 2007 2:43 PM CST
Google Inc. CEO Eric Schmidt, right, and President of Google Greater China Kai-Fu Lee, left, give a press conference in Beijing China Friday April 27, 2007.Google Inc., No. 2 in China's Web search market,...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – "Google" is a verb in many dictionaries, but the challenge of pronouncing it in Chinese has spelled trouble for the planet’s biggest search engine. "G-O-O-G-L-E is not a normal Chinese spelling and people don't pronounce it right," one Google exec tells Bloomberg of China, where the company holds less than half the market share of leader Baidu.

The "gle" sound has no equivalent in Chinese, so “most people call us ‘go go’,” the exec says. China boasts the second-most Internet users worldwide, but Google earned less than 1% of its revenue there last year. To help address the problem, the company bought domain "G.cn" to fight spelling issues, and has its largest non-US engineering team on the case.