Just when you though China's penchant for providing its own domestic alternatives to various popular products and online services could not get any more interesting, out comes Baidu to further consolidate its position as the country's version of Google, and the latest piece of news seems to confirm that claim. Apparently, it seems that Baidu has decided that it cannot be China's "Google" if it does not have its own web browser, a flaw which the company has moved to remedy with the release of its own beta browser that looks a lot a certain competitor's offering…
Are you adventurous enough to try out a beta web browser, especially if it is a product that is offered by a Chinese company? Well, if your answer to that question is "yes", then we are wagering that you might want to give a certain browser from the likes of Chinese search giant Baidu a little spin, for the company has just released version 1.2 of its own web browser for download, which reportedly claims to grant users access to "its own collection of 30,000" apps that can quickly connect users to online games, videos and other tools".
According to the information posted on Baidu's download page, the browser is touted to be designed with the goal of being simple and reliable to use, and offers what it calls a Secure Browsing mode to protect users from being infected by malware. In addition, the browser also boasts access to an app repository which consists of no less than 30,000 apps such as music players, cooking recipes and even comic book readers.
However, as PCWorld points out, the apps that Baidu has put up for users to make use of in the browser do not follow the traditional "downloadable apps" metaphor; rather, they act as frontends for online programs which are reportedly hosted by the search giant itself. In other words, the act of "downloading" an app from Baidu's "Treasure House" (yes, that is what Baidu's app repository is called) is nothing more than adding a bookmark to the browser so that users can easilly call up the app from their web browser. In addition, PCWorld claims that the URL bar in Baidu's web browser also doubles up as a search bar and a command launcher.
Sounds interesting? Well, you can always download Baidu's beta browser from http://liulanqi.baidu.com/ if you think you are adventurous enough to play around with the apps and services the Chinese search giant has to offer. Of course, with this being pre-release software, the same disclaimer about the browser potentially borking up your system applies (and even more so this time), so be sure to have your backups done.