How Yandex is Responding to Help During COVID-19
The outbreak of COVID-19 is upending the lives of billions of people around the world. This situation has called on individuals and organizations across the globe to do their part to help communities everywhere. Now more than ever, people are turning to connected, intelligent services to help them overcome this uncertain time. Here at Yandex, we’re working to adapt our tools that help consumers and businesses navigate the online and offline world for the current reality. Even as our community of over 10,000 team members transitions to working from home, we’re diligently working on finding solutions that will help people during these challenging times.
Yandex Information and Tools on COVID-19
Access to accurate and reliable information is key to how people tackle the COVID-19 outbreak. As one of the top global search engines, Yandex is committed to ensuring we can help provide users with useful and accurate information.
We’ve created a simple, easy to understand platform for all things related to the coronavirus. When searching for “coronavirus” or related keywords on Yandex.ru, our search page presents users with a panel summarizing all information on the virus in one place. The coronavirus dashboard includes symptoms, how to protect one’s self and others, statistics on the outbreak, the latest news, and more.
We’ve included a series of recommendations from the World Health Organization, and we also present expert responses to commonly asked questions via our Yandex.Q community question-and-answer service. The blue concentric circles are an easy way for users to identify the information we’ve verified with health experts, including the WHO, Russia’s Ministry of Health, doctors, and more.
Our mapping team introduced a map for Russian speakers that will help them better track the COVID-19 outbreak globally. The map includes statistics within cities and regions to help users remain informed of the cases in their local communities, as well as cases in other countries. We source information for the map from a variety of sources, including the WHO, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, China’s National Health Commission, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, and more.
We are also working on integrating our coronavirus search portal within Alice, our intelligent assistant.
Online Education Tools
Beginning on March 30th, we are adding remote learning tools to Yandex.Textbook, our free online education platform currently used by 22,000 primary schools across Russia. Teachers can hold live sessions, post homework assignments, and receive feedback from students. Students and teachers will be able to communicate with one another via chat and voice messages.
In collaboration with the Center for Pedagogical Excellence, we will also launch a fully online, freely available school for students in grades 5-11. Teachers will conduct lessons via our streaming services and Yandex.Tutor, an online task management service for courses. Some of Moscow's leading teachers will teach the classes using curriculums based on national standardized exams. To best replicate families' typical school-year schedules, we will host the lessons during normal school hours.
Our new distance education options join existing remote learning initiatives, such as our Coursera specialisations in machine learning. We encourage everyone to continue to rely on online learning tools throughout this period.
Yandex Mobility Services Safety and Updates
Beyond providing trusted information, we've also taken steps across our mobility products and services to better serve people impacted by COVID-19 and prevent the spread of the virus. As day-to-day life adapts to the new realities imposed by the coronavirus outbreak, there's been an increase in demand for courier-delivered goods. Yandex is proud to provide these services and retool them for higher demand, but we're also taking steps to ensure the safety of our couriers and users. Some of the actions we're taking to adjust our services to the current environment include:
- Yandex.Taxi is taking steps to minimize the spread of contagions, like encouraging the use of cashless payments only, establishing stricter cleaning guidelines for drivers, and setting up central cleaning locations for vehicles in certain cities.
- Cleaning staff for our car-sharing service, Yandex.Drive, are more thoroughly cleaning vehicles with extra strength, antiseptic disinfectant.
- We are supplying Yandex.Drive vehicles with antiseptic wipes.
- Within Yandex Self-Driving, we're using disinfectant to clean our autonomous vehicles.
Safety for Drivers and Couriers
- We've established a fund to support drivers and couriers affected by COVID-19 across Yandex.Taxi, Yandex.Eats, and Yandex.Lavka, our grocery delivery service. The fund will support those who contract COVID-19 and drivers who are in contact with an infected person and must self-quarantine.
- Guidance on the safe delivery of food and driving for couriers and drivers, along with quizzes and regular updates as the situation evolves.
- Couriers can access cleaning materials in support offices.
- We’ve set up locations in Moscow where drivers can undergo a medical check before beginning their shift, including measuring temperature, blood pressure, and a telemedicine chat with a doctor.
Delivery Service Updates
- Yandex.Taxi will soon begin delivering over-the-counter medications from pharmacies with the recent introduction of legislation to enable this.
- Yandex.Eats has simplified the procedure for restaurants to join the service.
Yandex Online Entertainment to Pass the Time During COVID-19
Besides the above changes, we’re happy to continue offering free services that can help people find ways to enjoy their time at home more. Our streaming service provides series, movies, live TV, and cartoons in addition to sports and cultural programs. Users can also listen to a free version of Yandex.Music and interact with Alice to get the latest news, play games, and have some friendly conversation at home.
We understand this is a challenging time for people everywhere, not just among our users and the Yandex community. We will continue finding ways to adapt our services to best assist people during the coronavirus pandemic, and we are happy to help people through this crisis in whatever ways we can.