South Korea’s Google

On this lovely day we visited a big tech corporation called Naver. Naver is basically South Korea’s Google and offers the Korean search engine. It also offers services such as an online Q&A platform called Knowledge iN, mobile messenger called LINE, video messenger called Snow, and a group communication service called BAND. After getting ready and having breakfast we all hopped on the bus and went to their headquarters. The headquarters is located in Seoul and is called the Green Factory. This is because of the green colored architecture used and the use of plants and woods in the interior. When we walked in we could see this was a very modern and leading company as they had free bananas for their employees and had beautiful interior. The ceilings were tall and had very nice wood accents. When we arrived we got a presentation and Q&A. The director of the AI department talked to us about all the new services they are creating for their users. All this was incredibly smart software that offered very unique and cool features. Since K-pop is very popular in Korea these services were kind of tailored to that and the demonstrations showed how it can be used with K-pop. One of these services included that the software would be able to take a video of a K-pop group and then could create videos that only specifically followed one person. So basically it looked like there was several cameras each specifically for that supposed member. Another really interesting service that was not just for K-pop was this voice muting software that would be able to mute certain people if they were talking over each other. This meant if two people were talking at the same time it could mute one of them and only have the one person talking. Another thing going off of that was its ability to mute background voices.

All these features worked incredibly well and I was amazed by the ability of these very complex softwares. This also was very interesting for me since my major is computer engineering and this is a possible path for me. AI development is so fascinating and it was very nice to be able to see a real world example of what I could be doing as a computer engineer.

After the presentation we were able to split into groups of eight and then received a tour of the building. My group had a Korean tour guide but whom was translated by these two young employees who knew English very well. The building was extremely nice and included really smart features such as plants in their library to control the humidity and provide fresh oxygen. Another really cool feature was movable blinds that could sense the amount of sunlight coming in and change how much is let in to allow for the optimal amount of light. The tour was also great in that we were able to ask these young employees questions which allowed for a great insight of the company but also the life of young adults in Korea. We were done by 12:30 and had the rest of the afternoon to yourself.

For lunch a small group of us decided to grab Burger King because we were missing American food and I was missing burgers. Then around 3:30 a group of nine of us went to Taekwondo, an optional activity. It was an hour class where they taught us basic kick moves. It was fun to do and really funny because most of us were struggling. I had to say it was also nice to have a small workout since I had not had time this whole trip. After the class it was time to go exploring the city and get food. We went to the Myeong-dong market and Namdaemun market where we were able to buy great souvenirs and get delicious street food. After this we went to the North Seoul Tower which was located on a hill that overlooked the whole city. The view was breathtaking and the city just surrounded us and seemed to go on forever. Afterward we explored Itaewon as it was recommended to us by some of the young adults we had met on the tours and company visits. After walking around for a little we headed back to the hotel and called it a night.

Leave a Reply