Dolphin, the popular mobile web browser, is anything but ambitious. The company is now announcing a partnership with several big names in the international search engine business in its efforts to expand into the global market, potentially snubbing search giant Google in the process.
Dolphin’s new partners are the search engine leaders in their respective countries, including Yandex in Russia, Baidu in China, Yahoo! Japan, and the privacy-oriented DuckDuckGo. This is part of the company’s campaign to bring more relevant local content and services to its target users in different countries and to become the de facto gateway to the Internet in what Dolphin calls as “mobile-first” countries, where people connect to the Internet primarily or mostly via mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets.
This move takes Dolphin dangerously close to Google’s turf. Google, who started out as a search engine, also develops its own browser, Google Chrome, which is available on desktops and mobile devices. Dolphin CEO Yongzhi Yang concedes that in the US, Google, and Apple, dominate the browser market, but it’s an open market in the global level. Dolphin prides itself in its localization features, with 21 supported languages, focusing on making the web accessible to other countries where Google doesn’t hold much sway.
The competition sounds like David and Goliath and it will be interesting to observe how it plays out in the days ahead. Dolphin, however, might be at a disadvantage even in the so-called “mobile-first” countries. With its focus on mobile platforms, Dolphin, unlike Google, does not have a version of its software for the desktop, which still makes up a substantial number of devices that connect to the Internet.