Baidu, China’s largest search engine, officially launched a series of new entertainment features on Thursday, making it easier for users to access games, television shows and books.
CEO Robin Li announced the new features at this year’s Baidu Technology Innovation Conference in Beijing. Now users will be able to play games, watch TV shows, buy books, and listen to songs directly from the Baidu search page.
The new features are part of Baidu’s “box computing” concept, which the company has now spent a year developing. Under the concept, the company’s search engine will not only provide query results, but can also carry out commands like launching an application or linking a user directly with an online service.
Early features of the concept included the search engine producing weather forecasts, train and airplane schedules, and stock market information directly from the Baidu search page, rather than simply providing links to related websites.
By expanding the box computing concept to entertainment products, Baidu also hopes to sign up businesses that will work with the search engine in offering content and applications. Baidu has already partnered with 40 companies to begin offering third-party products through its search engine. Baidu now has 500 online games and is creating an online library for users to browse and buy titles by actively searching for publishers to offer e-books.
Box computing “has only been in development for a year,” Li said. “Only a small part has been developed so far.”