Naver (Hangul: 네이버) is a South Korean online platform operated by the Naver Corporation. It debuted in 1999 as the first web portal in South Korea to develop and use its own search engine. It was also the world's first operator to introduce the comprehensive search feature, which compiles search results from various categories and presents them in a single page. Naver has since added a multitude of new services ranging from basic features such as e-mail and news to the world's first online Q&A platform Knowledge iN.
Type of site
As of September 2017, the search engine handled 74.7% of all web searches in South Korea and had 42 million enrolled users. More than 25 million Koreans have Naver as the start page on their default browser and the mobile application has 28 million daily visitors. Naver has also been referred to as 'the Google of South Korea'.
Naver was created in June 1999 as the first South Korean portal website with a self-developed search engine. In August 2000, Naver began the 'comprehensive search' service, which allows users to get a variety of results from a search query on a single page, organized by type, including blogs, websites, images, web communities, etc. This was five years before Google launched a similar offer with its 'universal search' function.
In the early days of Naver's operation, there was a relative dearth of web pages available in the Korean language. To fill this void, Naver became an early pioneer in user-generated content through the creation of the 'Knowledge iN (Hangul: 네이버 지식인)' service in 2002. In Knowledge iN, users can pose questions on any subject and select among answers provided by other users, awarding points to the users who gives the best answers. Knowledge iN was launched three years before Yahoo! launched its similar 'Yahoo! Answers' service, and now possesses a database of over 200 million answers.
Over the years, Naver has continued to expand its services. It launched its Web comic service 'Webtoon' in 2004 and its personal Blog service in 2005. From 2005 to 2007, Naver expanded its multimedia search services, including music and video search as well as mobile search.
In 2019, Naver reorganized its mobile version of the main screen, excluding search windows and some menus. In response more than 3,000 comments opposing the change have been posted.
Naver introduced new restrictions on comments to protect celebrities from malicious comments by anonymous online audiences in March, 2020. This followed a 2019 incident where a famous K-pop star Sulli committed suicide due to depression after facing a huge amount of malicious comments. Naver replaced the comment box with facial emojis in March, 2020 after criticisms of mental health implications for celebrities.
As of January 19th 2020, Naver now owns Wattpad, an online book service.
In October 2020, Naver was fined 26.7 billion won ($22.9 million) by South Korea's Fair Trade Commission (FTC) for manipulating its algorithm between 2012 and 2015 in favor of its own services such as Smart Store and Naver TV over services provided by rivals. Naver's share in the open market sector increased from 4.97% in 2015 to 21.08% in 2018, while competitors' market shares went down.
Junior Naver (Hangul: 쥬니어 네이버), also known as Juniver (Hangul: 쥬니버), is a portal website for children considered similar to Yahooligans. Junior Naver offers services such as avatars, educational content, quizzes, videos, Q&A, and a homework helper. Junior Naver utilizes a panel of experts and educators to filter out harmful content in order to ensure a safe internet environment for children. Ever since its competitors Daum Kids and Yahoo Kids have closed down, Junior Naver is the only children's portal site operating in Korea.
Naver Webtoon (Hangul: 네이버 웹툰), later simply WEBTOON, is a webcomic platform where users have free access to a variety of webtoons created by professional artists. Users can also pay publishers to view comic books and genre fiction contents online. Naver has incorporated a 'Challenge' section which allows amateurs to post and promote their own works. These days, there are a number of k-dramas that are motivated by these webtoons.
For two weeks from May 1, 2021, Naver held an event to pay up to 16,000 won to people who posted on Naver blog every day. However, this event was ended early due to a number of incidents where people with multiple IDs. Most people who participated in the event criticized Naver's response.
Naver announced on its official blog that it would resume its "Today's Diary Challenge (Korean: #오늘일기챌린지)" event, which ended early in three days, from May 24. However, only those who participated in the previously discontinued event (who completed the three-day record) can participate in the event.
Naver announced on May 13, 2021 that it would show profile pictures as well if it posts comments on Naver news articles. Previously, it was difficult to recognize users because only four digits in front of the author's ID who commented on Naver news articles were disclosed. Naver expected that it would be easier to recognize users and solve the problem of malicious comments by implementing such services. Critics criticized the company for its censorship of comments.
Naver TV (formerly Naver TV Cast) is a video streaming and share platform which mainly provides web dramas distributed by Naver.
Knowledge iN (Hangul: 지식iN), formerly Knowledge Search (Korean:지식검색), is an online Q&A platform launched in October 2002. The tool allows users to ask any question and to receive answers from other users. Knowledge iN was an early example of harnessing user-generated content to expand the amount of information available on the web, particularly in the Korean language. Bradley Horowitz, former Vice President of Product Strategy at Yahoo!, has cited Knowledge iN as the inspiration for Yahoo! Answers, which was launched three years after Naver introduced the original service.
Naver helps with unauthorized publishing in order to attract users to its Knowledge iN service. This contributes to poor quality content on Knowledge iN, as prior answers to a question are left unaltered, and old questions are only allowed small modifications by other netizens. Criticism is also growing as Naver unilaterally controls comments, and edits information that may be against its political positions.
Naver Encyclopedia (Hangul: 네이버 사전) consists of a professional database with over 3 million entries from many different encyclopedias. More than 1000 experts in physics, food, film, and other fields are producing 45 kinds of specialized content in the encyclopedia of Naver knowledge, and 50,000 headwords are accumulated. The Naver Knowledge Encyclopedia also deals with more than 100 public institutions and has received over 900 kinds of DBs.
Naver Mail (Hangul: 네이버 메일) is an e-mail service that anyone who is a user of Naver can use. Each people is given up 5GB of storage.
PRISM Live StudioEdit
PRISM Live Studio (Hangul: 프리즘 라이브 스튜디오) is a live streaming application for both mobile and PC. Streamers can simultaneously broadcast to multiple platforms, also known as simulcasting, while using up to 1080p HD all without increasing the network usage. Platforms supported includes YouTube, Facebook, Twitch, Periscope, V Live, Naver TV, afreecaTV, KakaoTV and RTMP channels. The application can also be used for video editing purposes.
Search engine features and restrictionsEdit
Naver's closed platform is frequently mentioned. Other search engines are not allowed to search their knowledge base and blogs, monopolizing Naver's control over its properties. In April 2011, the second and third portal sites in Korea, Daum and Nate, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to open their search for services such as cafe and blogs. Naver did not choose to participate in this MoU.
Naver had been criticized because they abused Real-time Search Terms (Korean: 급상승 검색어) to create public opinion[clarification needed]. Therefore, Naver abolished Real-time Search Terms on 25th February 2021.
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