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Chinese search giant Baidu launches free AV

English language software could be a shot in domestic search stoush

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Chinese search giant Baidu has been quietly testing the waters in the security space, with the launch of a free English language AV product for Windows.

Baidu Antivirus 2013 features traditional signature-based AV and cloud-based threat protection and tries to optimise PC performance along the way. Little other information about the new tool is available, although the product is based on proprietary AV engines as well as one from German anti-virus firm Avira.

Baidu claims the offering is “permanent[ly] free”, includes English language support, and has a small system footprint at just 11MB on install and a further 10MB in “resource consumption”. It supports Windows versions from XP to Windows 8.

Baidu Antivirus 2013 is effectively the same product that launched last year in Thailand as “Baidu PC Faster”.

The release is perhaps best-understood as an attempt to improve international awareness of the Baidu brand.

It comes just days after Baidu’s efforts to engage with the global app developer community, for example, with the launch of its Baidu Cloud Developer Center in English.

However, it’s also possible that the Chinese search giant is using the launch of the AV tool in English as a test run in order to make feature or usability enhancements before launching in its domestic market.

If this does eventually happen, old foe Qihoo 360 lies in wait. Qihoo claims over 400 million users for its security tools and has recently launched a search product, which has already grabbed around 10 per cent of the domestic market.

There’s certainly no love lost between the two, with Baidu set to take its new rival to court over a dispute relating to Qihoo’s search technology. Qihoo has also been publicly reprimanded by the government for unfair competition. ®

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