This year, Yet another Conference (YaC), our annual corporate conference on technology and innovation, has become “Yet another Conversation” — a virtual event that combines the presentation of our latest products and technologies with an open and candid conversation about our culture and values. The heads of key Yandex services talk about the thought process behind their products, discuss their plans and aspirations, and show what they have accomplished over the past year. They also discuss the challenges they have faced and how they managed to overcome them.
Some of the topics that we address include: recent developments in the driverless world, opportunities and challenges in delivery logistics created by the pandemic, and the latest capabilities of Yandex's core search technologies.
Tigran Khudaverdyan, the Deputy CEO of Yandex, sat down with the well-known journalist and blogger Alexey Pivovarov to weave these stories together and to reflect on how Yandex has fared during the pandemic.
One of the highlights of YaC 2020 is YATI (Yet Another Transformer with Improvements) — a neural network based on the Transformer architecture, which allows us to evaluate semantic relationships between user queries and the content of web documents. Transformer architecture has several key advantages — it works not only with short texts, such as queries or article titles, but also with longreads. YATI is able to identify the most significant sections of a text and take that into account while delivering search results. YATI is also able to “understand” the relevant context, such as the sequence of words and how words affect each other. Overall, YATI is several million times more complex than our previous generation neural network and is one of the biggest updates to our core search technology in the last ten years.
At YaC 2020 we also presented a new addition to our family of smart speakers with the built-in intelligent voice assistant “Alice”. The new Yandex Station Max is the most powerful smart speaker produced by Yandex to date. It features advanced Dolby Audio technology for a perfect audio experience, 4K HDR for streaming films in crystal clear quality, and an interactive LED screen to visually augment Alice's replies.
Yandex Station Max has five speakers producing a total of 65W of power. Multiroom technology allows this device to be connected to other Yandex smart speakers, creating a continuous soundscape in your home.
Other new Yandex services highlighted at YaC 2020 include one-click delivery of Yandex Market purchases via Yandex Go, new features in the Yandex.Fuel app, an updated Yandex Search app with a personalized feed and new opportunities for our e-commerce partners in Yandex search.
Watch YaC 2020 on YouTube.