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Baidu's Keeping an Eye on Google Again

By Rick Munarriz - Apr 3, 2013 at 7:30PM

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China's leading search giant may be able to beat Big G to a retail rollout of wearable computing.

Baidu (BIDU 3.10%) makes no bones about following Google's (GOOGL -0.16%) lead.

If something works for Big G, it's a safe bet that Baidu will find a way to introduce it into China itself.

  • Google rolls out a search engine. Baidu launches.
  • Google establishes the AdWords keyword bidding program. Baidu follows with Phoenix Nest, a similar pay-per-click platform.
  • Google champions a mobile operating system in Android. Baidu joins the fray, this time building on top of Android.

China may not be ready for self-driving cars, YouTube, or a treasure trove of April Fool's Day jokes, but something as crazy as Google's high-tech specs may be Baidu's next copycat move.

Sources are telling Sina Tech that China's leading search engine is working on Baidu Eye. The glasses are voice controlled and can recognize images and perform basic computing functions through an LCD display.

If this sounds a lot like Google Glass, step up and take a prize out of Big G's broom closet.

The report is detailed enough to claim that Baidu is already working with Qualcomm to devise a chip that gets at least 12 hours of battery life.

Whether or not Baidu Eye is real, we know for a fact that Google is making a play in wearable computing with Google Glass. Would it really be a surprise to learn that Baidu is going along for the ride?

Baidu is already taking a hit because the perception out there is that China's undisputed champ of desktop search may struggle to make the transition to mobile. Baidu's push into the smartphone space has yet to bear fruit, so why not take a chance on wearable computing?

Baidu can even beat Google to a commercial launch for a change.

Google recently revealed that it chose 8,000 winners of its contest to don Google Glass prototypes. They will have to pay a steep $1,500 for the early adopter privilege. As Google stretches this out, Baidu can rush to the market with a cheaper pair of specs.

Technically Baidu is once again copying Google, but that may not hold true if Baidu actually beats it to the starting line.

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