In Korea you never Google, you NAVER
For any “westerner” it’s difficult to imagine life without Google and yet in Korea the world’s biggest search engine only enjoys a 6% market share. The Korean market is dominated by NAVER which delivers more accurate results to its Korean users, limiting Google’s influence.
NAVER is not only a search engine but also an online shopping platform.
Foreign users do face difficulties searching the information they need as NAVER currently only offers a limited service in English. This has made it difficult for non-Korean speakers to search for information on the Winter Games.
Fortunately NAVER has recently announced that it will launch an English version of its map service in the first quarter of 2017. By 2018, just in time for PyeongChang 2018, the English service is expected to be in full use.
While the western world WhatsApp, Koreans KakaoTalk
KakaoTalk is a free mobile messenger application for smartphones. Currently it has 170 million users and is available in 15 languages. This app is used by 93% of smartphone users in Korea and is the perfect combination of Facebook Messenger, Maps and Snapchat.
At first, it appears to offer the same features as WhatsApp with all the typical options of sharing photos, videos, voice messages and location. However, the KakaoTalk emojis give it a unique Asian charm. The defining difference is the “Plus Friend” feature which allows users to follow brands, media and celebrities. It is also possible to receive exclusive messages, coupons and other real-time information through KakaoTalk chat rooms.
In addition, with typical Korean efficiency, you can also use the app to purchase goods through the “Gifting” platform, from Starbucks coffee to jewelery. It’s common to send a voucher for a coffee to a friend or colleague.