News.com has just published an interview with Ajit Balakrishnan, the CEO of the leading Indian portal (over 35 million registered users) Rediff.com. Lots of talk about Internet usage, social networking, mobile access to info, and e-commerce in India and China.
The interview concludes with Mike Kanellos and Elinor Mills asking Balakrishnan about web search.
News.com: Do you see any kind of competition from Google?
Balakrishnan: Google is the search king. There is no doubt about that. I think they've made some progress in India as well. But search volumes are relatively low in markets like India and China, and there is a very strong reason for that: commercial search volumes. The U.S. Internet economy has been built around e-commerce and there've been e-commerce sites here now for years. When you search for an iPod, there's a good chance that you would find 500 people offering that. When you have such a situation, then there's a role for product comparison sites. Commercial search in the United States accounts for about 20 percent to 30 percent of all searches. In countries like India and China, it's still very small--maybe 2, 3 or 4 percent.