Yandex Blog

A Grateful Look Back at 2017

Open letter from Arkady Volozh, CEO of Yandex

2017 was an outstanding year for Yandex. Our team made significant  strides in advancing the ways we help our millions of users more easily and efficiently navigate the online and offline world. In this post, I want to highlight some of our accomplishments over the past year.  I also want to express my gratitude to the truly impressive team that made 2017 such an incredible year for Yandex.

This year, as we celebrated our 20th anniversary, we delivered significant advancements in AI that are a culmination of two decades of work in machine learning.  In 2017 we launched our Machine Intelligence and Research (MIR) division, a new cross-functional unit that has unified our core machine learning technologies. MIR enhanced and launched several intelligent products and services, including the initiative to open-source CatBoost, an award-winning machine learning library that has seen significant adoption with thought leaders in the global AI community.  I want to thank all of our team members who contributed to AI enhancements on products such as our core Search product, Yandex.Zen, Yandex.Weather, Yandex.Music, and Yandex.Translate.

I am proud of all of the talented men and women who work at Yandex and their contributions to the field of machine learning. This year the Yandex School of Data Analysis celebrated its 10th anniversary of educating the next generation of data scientists in Russia through a free Master’s level program taught by top experts in the fields of Computer Science and Data Analysis. 

Our work here at Yandex has led us to many important achievements that not only impact the experiences of our users but also advancements in the global technology community. This year we were excited to introduce our intelligent assistant, Alice, which represents the next generation of search and is the only mass-market assistant in the world able to freely converse with its users. This year we also made strides in advancing the future of ridesharing.  The Yandex.Taxi team launched its driverless technology with the debut and successful testing of its autonomous vehicle.  Autonomous vehicles will transform the economics of the ridesharing ecosystem and we are proud to be leaders in the space.

2017 represents a transformational year of growth for Yandex in the transportation industry.  Our Yandex.Taxi business continues to revolutionize transportation with faster, cleaner and more expansive services for our users in 300+ cities across multiple markets.  Yandex.Taxi has provided over 335 million rides from its launch through the end of September 2017.  In July, we announced a deal valued at $3.4B in which Yandex.Taxi and Uber’s local ridesharing business will be combined in Russia and neighboring states to offer an even better and more efficient services for our users. 

This year we also launched Yandex.Auto, a multifunctional voice-controlled solution for connected car multimedia systems that incorporates Yandex solutions into the dashboards of cars produced by Toyota, Jaguar Land Rover, AvtoVaz, Ford and Kamaz.

As we look ahead to 2018, we are also excited about this year’s joint venture plans with Sberbank to build an end-to-end eCommerce marketplace for Russian online shoppers.  In the coming years, Sberbank’s $500M contribution will enable us to rapidly accelerate the development of our leading eCommerce platform, Yandex.Market, which provides 20 million monthly users with 150 million product offerings from over 20,000 domestic and international merchants.

And as I wrote back in April, users and the technology community have a lot to appreciate in 2017 and to look forward to in the years ahead now that Android offers a truly open platform for all application developers in Russia. For the first time, 55 million Russian Android users were given a choice of search engines on their mobile devices this year.  Moving forward, all new Android smartphones in Russia will prompt consumers to choose which search engine they would like to use on their devices.  This has led to a more dynamic and competitive ecosystem that breeds innovation and opportunities. Innovation of our mobile search offerings and the opening of this ecosystem has led to a 10 percentage point increase in Yandex market share on Android devices in 2017. 

Looking back at these accomplishments, I’m in awe of the year we’ve had and I am humbled by the talent and drive within our organization that has made this progress possible.  This year we have not only improved upon many of our existing services but we have explored new ways we can help our communities through new initiatives like our Yandex.Health telemedicine offerings or our digital learning platform for early education

I want to thank our team for all their hard work this year and our users for choosing Yandex.  I’m eager to build on our momentum in 2018 and continue to innovate and improve the exceptional experiences we offer users at every step of their journeys. By combining technological innovation with best-in-class products and services, there is no limit to what Yandex and its users can achieve in the new year.

Happy New Year!

Arkady

2017 Yandex Top Trending Search Topics in Russia

As the leading search engine in Russia, everyday Yandex provides results to over 250 million user queries. At the end of the year our research team compiles these queries and analyzes them to publish a list of the year’s top search trends.  Usually we don’t publish this in English but since we heard the world was wondering what makes the average Russian laugh, cry, and pay attention, we thought we’d translate their research to English this year.  

While these categories don’t cover everything, it gives us a great picture of what united Yandex users throughout 2017.  Although it’s our job to provide information, we connect with it too.  As our world has become increasingly intertwined through the power of technology, you may find that from your phone or laptop thousands of miles away from Russia, you too searched for similar topics in 2017 and can relate to this list. 

The very top of the first category “Events” starts with one of the more difficult moments of the year that united us - a deadly terror attack in a Saint Petersburg metro station.  Events such as these create concern but ultimately bring us together as a community.  That week people came together such as offering their homes to those in need and at Yandex we were glad to be among those helping by providing free Yandex.Taxi rides.

When it comes to the categories of “Men” and “Women,” Yandex users searched for a number of local and international celebrities, taking interest in their lives, such as the beloved Eurovision star, Dima Bilan and opera singer, Maria Masksakova. As for the  “Things and Phenomena” category, cryptocurrencies, fidget spinners, and the iPhone X proved to be just as popular in Russia as they were elsewhere.  

In the same category, we were pretty humbled to see our intelligent assistant, Alice, make waves with Yandex users after its mid-October launch this year.  Not only has Alice gained popularity for being useful but also for being sassy and entertaining. Thanks to all our users for appreciating our unpredictable robot and sharing your interactions.

It wasn’t a major surprise to see the Ice Hockey World Championship topping the “Sports” category in 2017. Fans searched for information on hockey, football, and the McGregor Mayweather fight among other sporting events. 

For users who weren’t watching sports or were in between sporting events, they were looking up movie times to go see It and Despicable Me 3 among others.  And when at home, of course, our users were watching Game of Thrones and other popular shows.  Before the premier of season seven in July, we actually had the privilege of giving Jon Snow a Yandex.Taxi ride among our millions of other rides in 2017 (passengers don’t usually ride shotgun or carry swords but we made an exception). 

Last but certainly not least, is our category on “Memes,” which these days some would argue includes some of the most valued content on the internet.   Once again, our list of memes proves we can all appreciate a good laugh and there’s always that one viral trend we enjoy.  This year Yandex users appreciated a solid list of memes, including “Zhdun” or “the one who waits” all over the place, including at our office in Moscow. 

Thanks to our users’ queries and also to our new and improved deep neural network based search platform, we continue to provide users with the quality service they have known and loved for two decades.  Thanks to our millions of users for turning to Yandex in 2017 to navigate their daily lives, we look forward to 2018!

For more comprehensive version of this research in Russian, please visit our research page.

Yandex.Health Provides Russian Users With Accessible Medical Advice for the Modern Age

50 million monthly users rely on Yandex services to help them better navigate the online and offline world. We are constantly working to improve our search and other services by listening to our users and responding to their needs. With the input of our users, we discovered an upward trend in health-related search queries, which are the most searched topic on mobile devices today. In response to an increased dependence on online resources for real-time answers relating to health, Yandex recently launched Yandex.Health, a mobile application that allows Russian users to connect to doctors, regardless of location.

The Yandex.Health application enables users to obtain affordable, on-the-go health advice from qualified medical professionals 24 hours a day, seven days a week anywhere an internet connection exists. All Yandex.Health consultants are experienced Moscow-based medical professionals certified by a special Yandex.Health training course. Users can complete their initial medical consultation via videoconference or text for 99 rubles ($1.70), and follow up appointments for 499 rubles ($8.50). 

Yandex.Health currently offers medical advice to Russian-speaking users across Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and several countries across Europe. The Yandex.Health app now holds the top ranking in the “Free Medical” app store category after launching earlier this year. It is the most downloaded online consultation service in Russia with thousands of consultations and counting. 

The consultation process is designed to provide patients with easy-to-access medical advice from dedicated professionals. For example, if a user in Moscow has a rash, the process begins with a brief text conversation where the user can describe symptoms and send relevant images to the first available doctor. If the user is unable to use video, the doctor can continue the consultation and learn more about the user’s symptoms via text message. The user will then receive a detailed report with doctor recommendations that can be viewed anytime in the Yandex.Health application.

In addition to consultations, Yandex.Health offers a feature for users to order medication online and pick it up in person. This added service combines Yandex’s data and technology with the resources and experience of pharmacies across Russia with information on roughly 20,000 different types of medicine from over 14,000 participating pharmacies in 78 regions across Russia. 

“Yandex constantly aims to improve the quality of everyday life for users online and offline,” says Grigory Bakunov, Head of Yandex.Health. “Yandex.Health provides our users with more accessible medical advice so people can better monitor and manage their health with the help of qualified healthcare professionals.” 

Yandex.Health changes the way users address their health needs by providing reliable, quick, and convenient online medical advice to users who might otherwise use online searches to diagnose themselves or wait for an appointment with a medical expert.  While Yandex.Health does not replace the need for in-person medical care, the application empowers patients with a reliable resource to virtually manage their health. As users become ever more dependent on their mobile devices, we are excited that Russian users now can now easily connect with doctors and take care of their health from home or on the go.

Yandex.Health is available as a desktop service and for iOS and Android for Russian-speaking users in Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and some countries in Europe. For more information on Yandex.Health and its availability, visit https://health.yandex.ru/.

Winter Is Coming: Yandex.Weather Nowcasting Helps Users Plan for Precipitation

Like the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros, Russia is known for its vast size and wide range of weather. In particular, many people associate Russia with its distinctive harsh winters that last about five months of the year. The coldest stretch of the Russian winter begins in November and extends through March. During these months, temperatures can regularly reach as low as –34°C (–30°F) in Siberia, one of the coldest regions of Russia that also experiences over 1,000 mm of precipitation in some areas. 

With December fast approaching, weather is shifting and Game of Thrones fans know that “Winter is coming.” To better manage the weather in Russia, over 35 million monthly active users rely on Yandex.Weather, Yandex’s hyperlocal, real-time weather forecasting application, for up-to-the-minute weather updates.

Yandex.Weather incorporates machine learning to provide users with a world best precipitation forecast system. Our weather forecasting technology, Yandex.Meteum, produces 43 percent greater accuracy in predicting precipitation and 25 percent more accurate temperature forecasts than competing weather forecasting services.

While traditional weather forecasting models rely on a combination of data models and surface weather observations to predict weather, Yandex.Weather adds deep learning to the equation. When traditional models are incorrect, for example overestimating rainfall during a cyclone, the temperature is corrected manually with surface observations. Yandex.Weather’s technology, on the other hand, replaces the need for surface observations with the use of deep learning. 

Within the last year, we enhanced our precipitation forecasting technology by incorporating nowcasting.  Yandex nowcasting uses radar imagery to forecast changes in weather using a deep learning neural network to handle transformations, transitions and other changes with the latest radar shot. This technology enables forecasting to be done on a minute-to-minute basis with best-in-class accuracy.   Now users can get push notifications that let them know the moment snow is about to stop in their exact location

Highly accurate, near real-time weather forecasting is clearly useful for people experiencing the variety of weather across Russia. But even within individual cities there is still considerable differences in weather that impacts users’ daily plans. Where traditional weather services generalize results by city, Yandex.Weather shows users hyperlocal results down to the city block.

With hyperlocal forecasting, Yandex.Weather users in one neighborhood may use the application to track a brief sleet storm on the weather map, while users just a few blocks away can receive forecasts showing clear skies in their location. 

Below shows such a scenario that played out yesterday near the Chernyshevskaya metro stop in St. Petersburg, where a user viewing our weather map could have used our service and decided to step inside a coffee shop for some tea during the passing sleet. 

Meanwhile, a user closeby at the Nevskiy Prospect metro using Yandex.Weather might have seen that conditions were fair and recognized they had a half hour to run nearby errands before the sleet reached them. 

As users adjust to shifting weather, their plans impact the demand for nearby businesses including our ridesharing service, Yandex.Taxi. Together, the coming stormfront and surging demand for Yandex.Taxi rides show how much the weather and Yandex nowcasting technology can impact users and businesses.  

With the recent introduction of nowcasting, we can now provide communities with an even more advanced machine learning based forecasting tool to help them more easily navigate their days and stay warm during the “Long Night” of winter!

Celebrating 10 Years of the Yandex School of Data Analysis

Over the years Yandex has launched several education initiatives ranging from learning platforms to high school and master’s level courses. 2017 marks the 10-year anniversary of one of our most impactful educational initiatives, the Yandex School of Data Analysis (YSDA), a free Master's-level program in Computer Science and Data Analysis. In Russia, Yandex is privileged to have access to some of the most talented math and science minds in the world but 10 years ago, Yandex co-founders Arkady Volozh and Ilya Segalovich realized there was a real need to foster these talents and offer students a program for advanced data science.  

 “Together with well-known pattern recognition specialist, Ilya Muchnik, our co-founders considered the need beyond programmers, to programmers with advanced knowledge of the most modern machine learning practices. There was a serious demand for people to lead Yandex and the entire industry down a new path,” says Yandex Director of Human Resources and Director of Computer Science Department at YSDA, Lena Bunina. “And it was clear that we needed to undertake this ourselves.”

Since 2007, the YSDA has been offering Russian students two vigorous years of training from top experts in the most advanced data science topics. Students leave with a profound understanding of theoretical foundations and hands-on experience in applications such as computer vision and  machine translation. “At YSDA, we focus less on theories and more on developing well-rounded students,” says Bunina. “It’s important for students to work in labs, solve problems and receive practical experience.” YSDA students have a unique opportunity to put their data processing and research skills to use as part of YSDA’s collaboration with the LHCb experiment at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research.

YSDA students also have internship opportunities at Yandex that allow them to further expand their training. Interns have the opportunity to work side-by-side with Yandex data scientists helping to deliver our users exceptional customer experiences.

Initially, the school started in Moscow instructing a class of 80 students in the department of Data Analysis. Our academic reputation, coupled with the growing demand for data scientists in today’s AI-centric world,, have created a huge demand for YSDA courses. Last year we received over 4,000 applications from top universities, welcoming 211 students who passed our rigorous entrance exams.

Today, the program has campus branches in Moscow, Yekaterinburg, Novosibirsk and Minsk, plus online offerings in both English and Russian on Coursera and partnerships with some of Russia's leading research institutions and universities.  The Yandex School of Data Analysis offers the Department of Data Analysis and the Department of Computer Science, and with a specialization in Big Data.

At the YSDA, it’s our mission to prepare students to succeed far beyond the walls of our classrooms. “YSDA’s unique blend of science and practice prepares graduates for a wide range of professional options in science, research, product development, analytics and more,” says Misha Levin, Chief Data Scientist at Yandex.Market and YSDA lecturer.

In 2009, we graduated our first 36 students and this past year proudly graduated 123 students.  After ten years, over 600 YSDA graduates are changing the way technology impacts our lives. One of them is Ruslan Mavlyutov, a 2011 YSDA graduate who now works as a Machine Learning Engineer at Apple. “YSDA elevated my machine learning career and I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to study there,” says Mavlyutov. “My peers and I had the unique opportunity to be early ML ‘adopters’ at YSDA enabling us to start and lead ML endeavours at Yandex and other tech giants like Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Apple.” 

“YSDA has created a network of bright minds that pumps ideas across countries, industries and companies. In almost every well-known IT company I can find someone who has studied at the YSDA." Mavlyutov adds, "Those are the people whom you can trust and rely on their expertise.”

We’re excited to be at the forefront educating the next generation of data scientists over the next 10 years. Thank you to all of past and present students and instructors of the Yandex School of Data Analysis! 

Say “Privet” to Alice, Yandex’s Intelligent Assistant

Today we are excited to officially introduce the world to a new AI assistant, Alice. Alice speaks excellent Russian and integrates multiple services in one centralized tool.  Built to authentically interact with people as they go about their day, Alice understands users’ natural language requests and provides contextually relevant answers. 

Alice helps users to easily and efficiently navigate their lives in a variety of ways by planning routes to destinations, providing weather forecasts, and sharing the latest news, among a number of other useful tasks. In addition to providing users with a wealth of online information through Yandex search, Alice integrates our services such as Weather, News, Maps, Transport, and Music, offering a centralized and fluid experience to assist users with their day.  For instance, to find a restaurant nearby, one can simply ask for “a dinner place nearby” - and to get directions to the suggested restaurant, they can add, “how do I walk over there?”

In developing Alice, we utilized our knowledge of the more than 50 million monthly users who interact with Yandex services.  Coupling our machine learning capabilities and 20 years of experience with Russian users and Russian language, we started experimenting with a personal assistant to specifically serve the needs of Russian users. We released a beta version of Alice in May 2017 to further test our ideas and understand how users could benefit from using Alicе.  Recently, we added a neural network based “chit-chat” engine to Alice that allows users to have free-flowing conversations about anything. It is a unique feature that our users find surprisingly delightful and different from other major voice assistants.  

Using web-scale datasets and deep neural networks, we trained Alice to listen, understand, and speak to users using natural language.  As a result, it provides an authentic and human-like personal assistant experience.  For instance, when a user asks Alice, “What’s the weather in Moscow?” and then follows with a question in slang asking, “And what about Peter?” Alice understands the intent and provides the weather forecast for St. Petersburg. 

Alice leverages speech recognition and synthesis capabilities of SpeechKit, Yandex’s world-class toolkit that is used across many of our products, from Navigator to Music. Speech recognition is especially challenging for the Russian language due to its grammatical and morphological complexities.   According to word error rate (WER) measurements, SpeechKit provides world-best accuracy for spoken Russian recognition, enabling Alice to understand speech with a near human-level accuracy.  

SpeechKit’s text-to-speech (TTS) technologies utilize multiple machine learning methods, such as neural networks and gradient boosting, to synthesize responses that sound natural and authentic. In addition to authentic responses, users who are fans of Spike Jonze’ film Her will recognize that Alice’s voice is derived from Tatyana Shitova, the recording actress who dubbed the voice of Samantha in the Russian language version. 

Smartphone users can now use Alice in the Yandex search application for iOS and Android and in a beta version of Yandex Assistant for Windows.  Alice will also soon be integrated into Yandex.Browser, followed by other Yandex products. Thanks to users for choosing our intelligent assistant, and even helping us name it.   Welcome to the world, Alice – we look forward to talking to you!

Yandex Turns 20

On September 23, 1997, the Yandex search engine was unveiled at the SofTool Exhibition. Soon after launching Yandex, our cofounders Ilya Segalovich and Arkady Volozh saw an opportunity to provide users with more than a search engine. “The user’s journey doesn’t end with search. We understood that very early on,” said Yandex CEO Arkady Volozh. In our first five years, Yandex added a number of services, including email, news and image search, eCommerce, and online payments. We also launched Yandex.Direct, the Russian Internet’s first contextual ad placement service for businesses who wanted to advertise on Yandex.

In addition to helping users find the things they want online, by the mid-2000s, Yandex began supporting users’ offline navigation needs as well. In 2004, we launched Yandex.Maps and two years later, we began displaying traffic information for users in Moscow, helping them better traverse the city’s notoriously congested streets. “Over the years, the internet has not only grown in size, it has also penetrated into all spheres of life,” said Dmitry Ivanov, Head of Discovery Products, who joined Yandex in 2003. “At Yandex, we’ve kept pace with this growth, expanding our services across many areas of users’ lives.”

Longtime Yandex employee and IR Director, Katya Zhukova recalls one of her favorite memories from the early days, “We constantly thought about our users and joked that every new product had to be designed simply enough that anyone, including Arkady Volozh’s mother, could use it. We called it 'Volozh’s Mothers Test.'" A combination of top tech talent, as well as best-in-class technology, have enabled Yandex to make products that pass the test.

In 2007, we opened the Yandex School of Data Analysis, a free Master’s-level program in Computer Science and Data Analysis. Many graduates have gone on to work at Yandex and grow our machine learning technologies. “I truly believe that it is not just the deep expertise in machine learning, AI, neural networks and the brightest, most talented employees, but also this user-oriented approach that has brought us to where we are today,” says Katya.  

By 2011, the world began to take notice. We held our initial public offering on the NASDAQ stock market. We also launched Yandex.Taxi, our market-leading on-demand transportation service.

Grigory Bakunov who leads all health care related initiatives for Yandex and has been with Yandex for over 15 years describes the maturation of Yandex over time as “we started as a typical startup: do it faster, fail, do it again but another way.  But year by year we grew a full stack of new technologies and systems. Some of them are now state of the art and at the bleeding edge of computer science.”

In the past five years we have focused on personalizing our products and services to the increasingly mobile needs of users and businesses. 2017 has been a breakout year for Yandex. Our Yandex.Taxi business merged with Uber to form a new company that will serve 127 cities across six countries. We announced a joint venture with Sberbank to further develop our Yandex.Market platform. We also open-sourced a machine learning library based on gradient boosting called CatBoost. 2017 also ushered in greater choice for millions of Russian Android users who can now select their preferred search engine on their mobile devices.


“As I reflect back on the past 20 years, I want to thank the entire team at Yandex, and our users, for joining us on this journey,” said Yandex CEO, Arkady Volozh. “We remain committed to our mission helping users better navigate the online and offline world. Wherever the destination –  online, offline, or something new altogether – users can trust Yandex to take them there.”

One model is better than two. Yandex.Translate launches a hybrid machine translation system

Today Yandex.Translate launched a hybrid machine translation system that combines neural and statistical approaches to machine translation to deliver our users an even higher quality translation that utilizes the complementary strengths of both translation models. The new system first translates users’ queries using both a statistical and a neural machine translation model.  Next, CatBoost, our gradient boosting library ranks the outputs of each model, ultimately selecting the highest quality translation. 

There are several approaches to machine translation and over the years, a number of technological advances have improved the quality of machine translation.  Since its launch in 2011, Yandex.Translate has been powered by statistical machine translation, a widely used approach that works by comparing example translations to find statistical correspondences between words in the two languages.

With today’s launch, Yandex.Translate now also includes a neural machine translation component, a method that has led to more fluent, human-like translations in the last few years. The new Yandex.Translate system is unique in offering users a free machine translation service that combines these two methods.

Statistical translation and neural translation models each have different strengths that complement each other. When combined in our new hybrid machine translation system, they will produce higher quality results than either of the underlying models alone. 

Statistical models prove extremely efficient at memorizing example translations and can produce better translations of words or phrases that are seen less frequently in the training data.  However, statistical machine translation break sentences up into words or phrases during the translation process, which sometimes makes it challenging to construct fluent translations.  

Neural machine translation models, on the other hand, can process entire sentences at once.  Neural models choose a translation based on the full context of a query, often resulting in much more fluent, human-like translations. But, because the neural network uses context to understand how a word is translated, it often fails to learn reasonable translations for words that it saw very few times in the training data. By combining the two systems, which excel in different areas, we see significant improvements in translation quality over either of the individual methods. 

The hybrid system will initially be launched for the English and Russian language pair, which accounts for 80 percent of the tens of millions of daily Yandex.Translate requests. The Yandex.Translate team also hopes to add other language pairs in the near future. 

Yandex’s new Head of Machine Translation, David Talbot explains, “We are excited to launch our new hybrid system for Yandex.Translate users. Ultimately, we want to develop a deeper understanding of how we can better assist Yandex users with their language needs, be it communication, language learning or simply accessing the huge amounts of information on the web available in other languages.”

Currently, Yandex.Translate offers users text, speech, and image translation and supports 94 languages pairs. Start using Yandex.Translate today at https://translate.yandex.ru/ or download the mobile app for iOS and Android.

New Intelligent Search Algorithm “Korolyov” 

 

Today, Yandex released a new version of its search platform, incorporating two important elements:

·      An upgraded version of a deep neural network based search algorithm called “Korolyov,” named after a town northeast of Moscow that has long served as the center of Russia’s space exploration program.

·     Incorporating Yandex.Toloka, a mass-scale crowd-sourced platform for search assessors into  Yandex MatrixNet.

“Korolyov” builds on “Palekh,”  Yandex’s first neural network based search algorithm released in late 2016.  The update improves how Yandex handles infrequent and complex queries, known as long-tail queries, in two distinct ways. 

First, “Korolyov” is better at understanding user intent than its predecessor because it examines the entirety of web pages rather than just their headlines. Second, “Korolyov” can scale to analyze a thousand times more documents in real time than “Palekh.”

Like all modern AI-based systems, “Korolyov” improves itself with each incremental data point. Yandex’s position as the largest search engine in Russia creates a positive feedback loop for our deep neural network algorithm, which leads to superior search results for our users.  

"Korolyov" results feed into MatrixNet, Yandex’s proprietary machine learning ranking algorithm, where a number of other ranking factors are considered before results are returned to a user.  

Recently, MatrixNet started incorporating data from Yandex.Toloka, Yandex's crowdsourcing platform, in addition to anonymized user data to train the machine learning algorithms. 

These updates help us to enhance the quality of our search services for our users.  To learn more about “Korolyov,” you can watch the event broadcast in Russian only

Choosing Yandex search on Android

Starting this month, Android users in Russia are presented with a choice screen in Chrome Mobile browser allowing them to select their preferred search engine.  Previously, Google search was the default search on Chrome on all Android devices; a different search engine could only be selected by accessing the application settings.  Now, with the most recent version of Chrome Mobile (v.60), users are prompted to select their default search engine when the Chrome app launches.  This is a huge milestone for Russian users and something we have been working towards for a long time.

Users are prompted via a new choice screen to select one of three search engines: Yandex, Google or Mail.ru when the updated Chrome Mobile app first launches:

Choice screen here has been translated into English for convenience

As one of the largest internet companies in Europe, and the leading search and mobile applications provider in Russia, access to platforms is critically important to Yandex.  We are excited that Russian consumers can now easily choose their preferred search engine on their Android devices.

Yandex has been the leading search provider in Russia for over 20 years.  We help mobile users when they are on the go by providing them with the highest quality and most relevant information.  We have built our search and other services with a total commitment to serving Russian users’ distinct needs.  As consumers are ever more dependent on their mobile devices for finding information about the world around them, we are excited that Russian users now can now easily choose the search provider best suited to their needs. 

Thanks for choosing Yandex over the years!  We look forward to continuing to help users better navigate the online and offline world!