Yandex company blog

It May Get Really Personal – we have rolled out our second-generation personalised search program

We all know what it takes to understand another person. It’s a lot. Even if all you need to understand is what a person is looking for online. We have been trying to do this for years. A person’s interests and preferences give a good clue as to what they want to find. We used to look into a user’s search history as far as a few months back to choose for them the search results that would be most relevant to their scope of interests.

Now, we have added to our search algorithm a search history of a few seconds – searches within the current search session. We can now deliver results and search suggestions based on the ‘full picture’ of the user’s search behaviour.

Updating our knowledge of users’ interests once a day allows us to understand their more-or-less stable interests, such as a love of books or football, or that they speak Russian and live in Saint Petersburg. More than half of all searches on Yandex, however, are about something that interests the searcher at the very moment of searching and stops interest them the moment after. To be able to cater to such momentary searches, we now analyse search sessions in real time.

Search queries begin to influence search results within seconds. The search engine can figure out whether a person is looking for a book or a film even before they have finished typing [The Great Gatsby] in the search box.




With the new personalised search program, we can offer relevant results even to those web users who don’t have any search history on Yandex. To instantaneously react to changes in users’ search behavior, we created a real-time data processing system, which processes more than 10 terabytes of data a day, continuously correcting its knowledge of users’ needs.

To make search results as personal as they can be, we first learnt to take into account users’ language preferences and permanent interests. Now, we have learnt how to tell current search intents of our users from their search footprint and give them what they are looking for. Personally.

Search results based on current search interests are available on all Yandex domains globally for all 93 millions of our users. Personalisation that takes into account long-term or medium-term interests works best for searches in Russian, but, just like all previous editions of Yandex’s Personalised Search, the latest version will learn to fetch personlised search results in other languages as well as it receives more search queries in these languages. 

Read more about our Personalised Search program in Products and Technologies.