Naver has challenged the web browser market which is dominated by Microsoft’s Internet Explorer (IE) and Google’s Chrome. On December 1, Naver released a beta test version for its web browser, called Whale. The company has been developing Whale for the past five years at Naver Lab. Until now, Korean local firms have launched web browser services, including Swing from ESTsoft Corp., but most of them were considered a failure.
Naver said its Whale service is to apply investment results of latest technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI) and autonomous vehicle, to people’s everyday lives and to secure data about users’ Internet surfing habits. It means that Whale is not the competitor with IE and Chrome.
However, all eyes are on what accomplishments Naver can make as the company has pushed into the web browser market. First, users who tried the beta test version for Whale showed positive responses. In particular, users have high satisfaction levels at quick loading speeds that are similar with that of Chrome which destroyed the stronghold of IE in the market, according to information communication technology industry sources.
After I experienced five days of the trial service, I think the biggest strength of Whale is the “space” function that can split the screen. Naver emphasizes that Whaile is an omni tasking browser. The company says the space function is the most differentiated function with other web browsers.
When clicking the space function on the upper right of the Whale browser, users can view the search engine window and the search results windows at the same time.
As a reporter who need to check and read foreign news reports, I used the translation function the most. As Whale also comes with Naver’s AI-based Papago translation service, it has greatly increased the accuracy of translation. In particular, I really liked that I was able to see the original text and translation on the same page since the translation was not 100 percent perfect.
You can also turn on social media services that you frequently use through the “side bar” on the right side while using the web browser. The side bar is more convenient for users as it pops up the same page with the one on mobile devices. When you use the space and side bar functions at the same time, you can see three web pages at once. However, the size of web pages is still maintained, though the space function split the screen.
When you move a cursor to text on the Whale browser, you can use “quick search” function to translate documents written in English into Korean and in Korean into English. Even after you close and open the browser again, Whale pops up the last page you used. With a mouse gesture, you can order to go to previous, refresh and close the web page. You can also take screenshots by just clicking the button on the upper right side.
To be sure, it is still unclear whether Whale can succeed in the global market. The service still focuses on the needs of domestic users so we should wait and watch whether Whale will add services and functions that can attracts foreign users. The web browser needs a powerful weapon to make meaningful accomplishments in the global web browser market.