Google might benefit from a perception in China that overseas companies can be more trustworthy, one reason many families import baby formula instead of buying local brands.Pichai didn’t mention another case study from China’s search market his team has probably thought about.
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“I spend 90 percent of my time in We Chat, and my wife spends 98 percent,” Lee says.
“If you want to do a search, Sogou is right there.” Sogou also indexes some We Chat content, giving it a powerful lens into what Chinese internet users are doing.
Charlie Smith, the pseudonymous co-founder of Great Fire.org, a nonprofit that monitors Chinese internet censorship, says it shows that China’s internet users don’t necessarily see American search engines as an upgrade.
“The Chinese already have that alternative and it's terrible,” he says.