SEOUL, South Korea � Google Inc. (GOOG) has seeped into many aspects of online life across the globe, but the Internet search engine has failed so far to make any notable inroads in one of the world's most wired countries: South Korea.
Users here are some of the most Internet-savvy in the world, with millions of people running their own blogs and taking advantage of omnipresent broadband hookups and Wi-Fi hotspots.
South Koreans would seem like natural Google users, but the leading search engine is merely a bit player.
Google referred only about 17 percent of unique visitors to other sites in March, according to the Web analytics company WebSideStory. Another research company, KoreanClick, found that Google's Korean site referred only about 10.8 percent of unique visitors in February.
The search-engine field here is ruled by local NHN Corp.'s Naver Web site, whose links accounted for nearly 58.4 percent of search referrals, according to WebSideStory. KoreanClick's tally of Naver's share was even higher � nearly 80 percent.