Naver Screen Shot

It is always helpful to have an understanding of where and what your students are doing on the web. A recent student survey with my classes revealed 3 popular Korean sites, Naver, Daum and Cyworld. Naver started as a search portal in 1999 and has developed into a social networking site. Naver- whose name comes from the English words neighbor and navigator really stands out on three points

1) Popularity – One of the reasons for the popularity is that their search engine has the largest database of Korean language content to draw on. Here are some key quotes from the IHT Article:

  • It handles more than 77 percent of all Web searches originating in South Korea.
  • Naver has so far accumulated a user-generated database of 70 million entries.
  • Each day, on average, 16 million people visit Naver keying 110 million queries into its standard, Google-like search function.
  • Naver users also post an average of 44,000 questions a day through Knowledge iN, the interactive Q & A database. These receive about 110,000 answers, ranging from one-sentence replies to academic essays complete with footnotes.

2) Features – Similar to iGoogle or MyYahoo, it allows users to personalize their Naver page, connect to friends and subscribe to RSS feeds. Naver is also about to begin testing online office programs that will allow users to create and edit documents and spreadsheets like Google Docs.

3) Censorship – Naver is facing some censorship issues following a recent court case in Korea that prompted the government to advise major portal such as Naver and Daum to introduce a “temporary measure, which is to shut down blogs or community sites or to remove postings whenever there is a request from the person involved. (Online censorship article)”

Cyworld also enjoys great popularity, especially among younger users. As this article points out, Cyworld has captured a large portion of the market share in Korea. Here are some quotes from the article:

  • the site now has 20 million users in Korea, 40 percent of the country’s total population
  • Some 96 percent of 20 to 29-year-olds use the site “regularly,”
  • And with 100,000 daily video uploads, Cyworld actually has more traffic than the highly touted YouTube

With high numbers of people connected and actively contributing to these sites, it is no wonder the databases of Korean content have grown so quickly. Are your students using these sites?