China’s answer to Google may have stolen a long march on Facebook. Soon after Mark Zuckerberg announced his umbrella company would be changing its name to Meta, the Beijing-based Baidu applied for a ‘MetaApp’ trademark.

Zuckerberg famously announced last Thursday that he was changing the name of his company – which owns Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp, among other platforms – to Meta, saying it better fitted his vision of “embodied internet.” 

While Americans memed and mocked the name change, Baidu Online Network Technology Company filed a trademark application for “MetaApp” with the Chinese authorities, the state news agency Xinhua reported on Tuesday, citing results of a search on the data platform Tianyan. Baidu’s trademark classification says it “involves website services and scientific instruments.” 

The Beijing-based company operates the second-largest search engine in the world after Google, as well as cloud services, news, music, advertising, augmented reality, and even a digital assistant service. However, it may have been too late to the “meta” game, as there is already a Chinese company called MetaApp – a sandbox developer also based in Beijing, specializing in mobile games for Google’s Android operating system.

Microsoft’s take on the Metaverse is coming next year and will have PowerPoint and Excel

Meanwhile, Microsoft has announced it would launch its own “metaverse” in 2022, in which corporate users could share Excel spreadsheets and PowerPoint presentations in the kinds of virtual environments Zuckeberg gushed about in his video keynote.

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