TechCrunch » Facebook: Yandex Adds Facebook Posts And Big Data To Its Search Results In Russia, Other Home Markets

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thumbnail Yandex Adds Facebook Posts And Big Data To Its Search Results In Russia, Other Home Markets
Jan 14th 2014, 07:55, by Ingrid Lunden

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Yandex and Facebook had a notable run-in last year when a team of developers from the Russian search giant created a social search app called Wonder, which Facebook promptly blocked, leading to Wonder shutting down. But in reality the two sides have been working together since 2010, and today comes the latest chapter in the collaboration. Yandex is launching a social search feature that will give visitors related, real-time public posts from Facebook. Yandex will also use Facebook firehose data to help provide more relevant results.

The only other search engine that has a deal similar to Yandex’s is Bing in the U.S. A provisional mock-up of how this will look is pictured here.

The move is significant for a couple of reasons:

– It’s a way for Yandex to provide more socially credible (and some may argue accurate) information at a time when people are turning to social networks like Twitter and Facebook as their primary source for searches. Bypassing search engines like Yandex ultimately hits its bread-and-butter advertising business.

– It’s a way for Facebook to continue to raise its profile among Russian consumers, and sign up new users, to compete better against local favorite Vkontakte. “Yandex indexes many blog hosting services, microblogs and social networks,” a spokesperson told me. “Now, having received full access to Facebook’s firehose of public data, this social network will be better represented in Yandex’s search results.”

– On a wider level, it’s a sign of how Facebook is making moves to extend into international markets by partnering with local players. Today: Yandex. Tomorrow: Baidu? (Maybe not so soon.)

From what we understand, this is a non-commercial deal, with access to the firehose free. We are asking Yandex whether there will be plans down the line for commercial elements to get added — say, around search ads.

Like the Bing deal, Yandex uses a Facebook “firehose” deal covering all real-time data. It is restricted, however, to public posts from Facebook users in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Turkey. That covers “tens of millions” of users, according to a Yandex spokesperson.

The Yandex deal is starting out gradually. First, Facebook posts will only come up in search results on Yandex’s blog search page.

“The next step is to use Facebook updates on the main search page ( or,” a spokesperson tells me. On the main search page, Facebook will be used as a kind of social radar, listing results from whatever topics are trending at the moment, as well as posts related to the latest news.

The spokesperson says in the “near future” users will not only see public posts in their search results, but comments made on those posts (something Bing launched in May 2013). Profiles and posts that Facebook users mark ‘Private’ will remain unindexed and unsearchable, he added.

The other side of the deal is a big data play: Yandex will incorporate data from Facebook’s public firehose into its own search algorithm to enhance search results.

That will mean more links to articles and videos that have been shared a lot on Facebook, but also a change to the overall search results. “The popularity of materials on Facebook will be taken into consideration when ranking webpages in search results,” the spokesperson says.

It’s a progression from the earliest deal between the two, when Yandex started to use updates on Facebook Pages to provide more detailed results on searches of public figures or organizations (similar to what Google does with data from Wikipedia and others.

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