Saturday, April 27, 2019

Naver's "Green Dot" feature reorganization (videos)

You've probably seen by now that the Naver homepage has completed its redesign to a brighter, less cluttered, and more mobile-focused style. The focus is on their "green dot" design which puts a sort of floating green dot at the bottom of your screen.

This dot is your portal to accessing most all of Naver's various services in a cute and fun little spinning-wheel style, which if you had been using Naver Whale for mobile you might already have had a glimpse of.

A reader asked if I'd do a post about this new design, but honestly I don't know what I'd say about it. It's already been talked about in multiple English news sources:

And I already basically outlined it even before it was officially released:

What more is there to say? Not much in my opinion because although it looks more flashy now, really this is just a simplified UX to more easily launch various Naver features that were already available, though perhaps a bit spread out across the app and site. 

For example, if you visit right now and click Confirm (확인) on the pop-up that asks if you'd like to try the new design (assuming you haven't already visited and done this), you will see the green dot at the bottom. Click it, and you'll pull up the menu of Naver services.

Naver's "Green dot" navigation

Take a look at those little icons that come up. 

The first tier (the little green icons that look suspiciously like they follow Google's Material Design 2.0 guidelines) are all means of accessing Naver searches. 

From right to left there is:

Note that although these appear in the mobile website, most of them require the Naver app and will prompt you to download it. 

It seems clear to me that these various search methods are all at some point going to be integrated in Naver's AI assistant feature "Clova" that currently is still officially separate and operates on Naver's smart speakers and even some cars now. A full Google Assistant style "on all of your devices" type service is inevitable and you can see some of this if you use the Naver app. 

And on the second tier (the outer circle) you really just have links to established Naver services:
  • Mail
  • News
  • Webtoons
  • Knowledge
  • TV / Entertainment
  • Maps
  • NaverTV
  • Naver Shopping
  • etc.
(Multiple embedded YouTube videos to follow.)

These services are fully customizable. You can choose which to include or exclude:

Meanwhile, Naver has some promotional videos showcasing the use cases for these services. So take a look.

Here's an example of using the voice search to search for nearby convenience stores, which then guides you there using Naver Maps tech:

Here's the Lens visual search identifying a bottle of wine and translating its content to Korean:

Here it is identifying some type of cream and showing information on it including purchase info: 

Here it is identifying a type of dog:

Here it is showing nearby hot spots for popular restaurants in your area:

Here's an example of using the normal old fashioned search text box:

Aside from the "green dot" you should also remember "swipe right" for shopping and "swipe left" for news.

Here's a look at Naver's new personalized shopping results based on your history and search feedback:

And the new Naver news homepage:

Finally, you can add your own photo as background to customize your Naver experience (this was previously a "Naver Lab" feature that has graduated to the mainstream)

So overall, you can see that this whole reorganization was really more about streamlining and making a more coherent visual experience. There's actually not a lot of new content in this redesign. They've just made it a bit simpler and straight-forward to access these features. 


  1. Great post!

    Thank you! I see that Naver is heading forward. Though I still feel lost a bit with the latest statistics I have found on the net. They say that Naver takes tiny 16 percent of South Korean search engine market. I don't believe it.

    I wonder when Naver Whale browser will have an English interface. They promised it two years ago. Then they replied in Google Play Store that it would happen in the end of 2018. Now we are in May 2019 and no English interface is seen on the horizon.

    1. Those stats are clearly wrong and probably compiled by a foreign company. The numbers I've seen about Naver's search share usually hover between 70% and 85% of search share.

      I know Naver Whale as an English interface for the desktop version. I haven't used the mobile version in awhile.