Facebook Extends Reach In Russia Through Partnership With Yandex

The seventh-largest search engine in the world, Russia‘s Yandex, is integrating Facebook notification data into search results. Short for “Yet Another Indexer,” Yandex boasts more than 19 million unique visitors on a typical week day and claims more than 64 percent of the Russian local search market. The company’s network of sites together fetch a global audience of about 50 million people a month.

The English language version of Yandex‘s home page has even more white space than Google, but clicking on the “worldwide” link takes you to Yandex.ru, where the layout has a lot more going on. Eventually, this will include a a Facebook-branded widget linking to content from the social network.

The official Facebook press release says:

Yandex will now add the data from Facebook into its blog search index improving its international search and boosting new, recently created pages’ indexing. Specifically, Facebook will provide Yandex with a syndication feed that gathers information about updates on its Pages and profiles created to represent public figures, businesses or organisations.

Yandex has long been incorporating social content into its search by indexing pages of key Russian-language blog-hosting websites and micro-blogging services, including LiveJournal.com, Twitter.com and LiveInternet.ru so that Yandex web search nowadays highlights user profiles hosted on most social networks. Yandex search can offer to its users the freshest and the most comprehensive social content from the above mentioned social networks and blog-hosting websites that partner with the company to have their data automatically added to the search engine’s index.

Yet to be answered is the question whether the partnership between Yandex and Facebook will include any translation of Russian webpages into English and vice versa. It could be argued that translation challenges are what enabled Yandex to become the dominant search engine in Russian. Yandex has indexed more than 10 billion webpages in Russia’s native language, including pages in Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine.

Within this region, Yandex’s local competitors are Rambler and Mail.ru. Google and Yahoo also have interfaces in the Russian language that are used locally.

Google boasts about 21.8 percent of search-engine generated traffic in Russian-speaking countries. Yandex shares a space with sites like South Korea’s Naver, the Czech Republic’s Seznam.cz and China’s Baidu, where Google is not the leading search engine used locally. Look at the respective languages in these countries and it’s easy to see how translation challenges would limit entry by foreign companies.

Let’s see how this integration plays out. If it’s successful, it might serve as a road map for entry into other markets where translation challenges have limited other U.S. companies.

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