Yandex Blog

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, 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.

Yandex Launches SoundsEasy Skill for Alice to Help Children with Speech Disorders

Yandex has always taken a particular interest in cultivating positive environments that aid in children’s development.  Our late co-founder Ilya Segalovich brought his passion for youth development to Yandex through initiatives such as Yandex’s outreach programs at Russian orphanages, including Maria’s Children, founded by his wife.  We’ve carried on the spirit of Ilya’s compassion for children through our education programs and tools designed to create positive learning environments, such as Yandex.Textbook.  

As we continuously create innovations, we’re exploring more ways our intelligent ecosystem can also provide tools for children and their parents. Our intelligent assistant, Alice, has been central to this effort, offering educational and developmental support through skills such as “guess the animal” and math games that promote cognitive learning. Last year, our in-house creative team set out to create a skill for Alice that would specifically address an important childhood development issue in Russia using our AI.  Today, after a year developing and testing interactive songs with a team of speech therapists, we are proud to introduce parents, children, and teachers to SoundsEasy, a skill for Alice designed to help children with speech disorders and other early speech impediments.

According to Russia’s former Minister of Education, nearly 60% of school children struggle with speech problems (in Russian).  We learned that speech disorders are particularly challenging to tackle in Russia due to a lack of qualified speech therapists, and many parents are unaware of the issues and their impact.  In many cases, early speech problems can lead to other developmental concerns that lead to consequences later in life, such as speech impediments. Our creative team started researching how we could help improve this with our technologies.  While correcting speech needs to be managed by professionals, a skill for Alice could help children practice sounds and form better habits through repetition.

SoundsEasy offers a selection of catchy and fun songs for forming proper speech habits through interactive recitation with fun characters led by our AI.  Each SoundsEasy training exercise has three parts – the warm-up, syllable practice, and repeating lines from the songs. Using our speech recognition, Alice carefully listens to the speaker and then compares what it hears with the correct pronunciation of the lyrics.  Alice then kindly suggests the child repeat the phrase if it doesn’t match what the assistant is expecting to hear. The characters within SoundsEasy rely on our speech synthesis technologies to naturally interact with children on the content, providing stories, feedback, and encouragement.  

Together with a team of speech pathologists, poets, local pop stars, and psychologists, we created SoundsEasy to help improve the current and future lives of children with speech disorders.  Speech pathologists provided their expertise to design songs for practicing different sounds, ensuring songs don’t mix difficult sounds that would be overly challenging for listeners.  Using the guidelines for writing the songs, poets advised on the lyrics and pop artists recorded catchy songs that are similar to modern pop hits.  

We then developed characters with a unique personality for each pop star called Soundies. We designed the Soundies to combat issues such as dyslexia, dysgraphia, or stage fright that are often a result of speech problems.  For instance, Soundies explain why performing on stage is fun and not scary.  We also integrated new lyrics into familiar songs from the popular Fixiki cartoon.  Fixies characters, which millions of children across Russia already know and love, introduce listeners to exciting technologies and futuristic professions such as “Drone Racer,” and they’ll now be able to help children practice their speech.

Psychologists provided feedback for adjustments, such as adding more encouragement. The characters now offer more praise, and we introduced other motivational features. Children get a coloring exercise upon completing songs, which serves to also stimulate motor skills.  SoundsEasy also aims to promote other essential learning values, such as reading and writing.

Children were also some of the most important collaborators.  Through user experience testing, their feedback helped us refine the skill; for example, through our testing, we observed how antsy and excited children tend to be, which is why we added interactive activities to occupy them through the speaking exercises. More importantly, though, the testing period allowed us to see firsthand how much value this new tool will bring to their lives.  Several of the children who tested the skill returned home to continue trying it out with their families on their own Alice-enabled devices.

We are so grateful for all the teamwork and expertise of everyone who contributed to the development of SoundsEasy. Not only will millions of children and parents benefit from using this interactive Alice skill at home or on the go, kindergartens and other early childhood education centers’  in Moscow will begin using SoundsEasy as part of their curriculum. Speech therapists will also be able to utilize SoundsEasy for Alice by assigning certain songs for children to practice at home, and we hope to soon incorporate SoundsEasy in teaching curriculums at schools across Russia.

While this is an excellent use of our AI, SoundsEasy also reflects the values of Yandex as a company. We hope SoundsEasy raises more awareness of children’s development issues and speech disorders specifically.  We’re excited for all the ways SoundsEasy and future AI innovations will help advance childhood development.

Reducing Electronic Waste, One Speaker at a Time

The rapid progress of technology means that the devices we use to power our daily lives are becoming ever more advanced.  While users benefit from smarter, improved gadgets, and companies like Yandex produce new devices and create new applications for them, the “upgrade cycles” for consumer tech raises an important question - what about older hardware  that gets left behind, becoming electronic waste? According to the United Nations, the world creates 50 million tonnes of e-waste every year, and just 20% of this is recycled.  At Yandex, we appreciate the environmental hazards posed by the globe’s growing e-waste, and as we roll out new devices, we’re taking steps to try and reduce it. 

As a technology company that started providing consumer devices over the last few years, we're committed to sustainability initiatives that reduce the amount of e-waste created.  In October, on the first day of sales of our Yandex.Station Mini smart speaker, we encouraged people to bring their older speakers to our official store to exchange them for a free Yandex.Station Mini. 

For the speakers we received, we’ve partnered with a local recycling company in Russia who will disassemble the devices and recycle their components.  Through this process, speakers that were mainly collecting dust in storage will go on to serve new uses. Their plastic will be used in the construction of windows, while the metal from the speakers will be sent to scrap metal recyclers.  Copper smelters will receive part of the wires, while refineries will extract precious metals from the metallic elements that can’t be recycled. What can’t be reused or recovered from the speakers will be disposed of responsibly.

In response to our call for older speakers, over two thousand people lined up at our store with a variety of devices.  The first thousand who arrived received Yandex.Station Minis, while we gave the rest credit towards the purchase of one of our smart speakers.  We awarded our larger smart speakers, Yandex.Stations, to those who exchanged the most extraordinary speakers, such as gramophones, radiograms, and custom built speakers.  These unique items will be displayed in the Yandex museum in Moscow, allowing visitors to take a journey through auditory history.

As one of the companies bringing smart speakers to people’s homes, we also want to be a leader in helping people give new life to their older speakers. We want to thank everyone who helped us keep these speakers from piling up in landfills by bringing them to the Yandex Store, as well as our recycling partner for disposing of the speakers in an environmentally friendly manner. 

We hope that, through this exchange program, people will continue to consider ways they can ensure their old electronics are recycled or reused.  We encourage other users to explore electronic recycling options in their area so that they, too, can help create a more sustainable world.

New Version of Yandex.Auto Offers Deeper Car Connectivity

Earlier this week, we announced that our in-car infotainment system, Yandex.Auto, will ship with millions of new Renault, Nissan, AVTOVAZ/LADA vehicles in Russia.  This expansion will build on the hundreds of thousands of cars that already integrate Yandex.Auto to provide more drivers with an easy and safe way to access their favorite Yandex services.

Today, we’re excited to share that by the end of the year we will be rolling out a new version of Yandex.Auto that will offer an enhanced connected car experience with more smart functionalities for managing driving tasks and controlling the vehicle.

Yandex.Auto will automate many routine driving tasks to make driving as simple as possible.  A parking feature will detect when drivers have parked in a paid area and Yandex.Auto will automatically add time to the meter if it expires.  Yandex.Auto will save parking spot locations as well, so drivers can easily use their smartphones to find their car. By establishing deeper integration with the vehicle, Yandex.Auto will also maintain the vehicle’s location in areas with limited reception, such as tunnels.

The new version of Yandex.Auto will provide more options for users to control the vehicle with their smartphones and our intelligent assistant, Alice.  Drivers will be able to ask Alice to lock and unlock the doors, control the windows, start the engine, and open the trunk through Yandex.Auto.  For instance, users will be able to remotely ask Alice to start the car and turn on the climate controls.

“Technology is making driving easier and safer,” says Roman Chernin, Head of Yandex Geolocations Services.  “As drivers turn to automation and voice-control to use their cars, vehicles are coming to resemble tech like smartphones and computers.  With the new Yandex.Auto, we’re taking a major step towards the next generation of connected cars. The updates coming later this year will automate many tasks for drivers, such as paying for parking.  We strive to provide our users with the safest driving experience, and the new version of Yandex.Auto helps us realize this vision.”

Various new Toyota, Nissan, Renault, and Chery models have Yandex.Auto preinstalled, in addition to almost 10,000 vehicles in our car sharing fleet, Yandex.Drive.  Owners of select models from carmakers such as Volkswagen, Škoda, and Hyundai can also replace the factory-standard infotainment system with an aftermarket Yandex.Auto solution.  


With the purchase of a head unit, drivers can have Yandex.Auto installed on compatible cars at authorized service centers for free.  For the first six months, Yandex provides unlimited data for Yandex apps and services within the Yandex.Auto platform, and 1 GB per month for third-party services.  Yandex.Auto also comes with a free six-month subscription to Yandex.Music.

For more information about Yandex.Auto visit

New Yandex Smartphone Offers a Unified Yandex Mobile Experience

Today, Yandex announced the release of its first smartphone, Yandex.Phone.  This device is the first phone to be fully powered by our intelligent assistant, Alice, and it is the first smartphone to be entirely integrated into the Yandex mobile ecosystem of apps and services right out of the box.  We’re excited to provide mobile users with the best Yandex smartphone experience.

Our smartphone gives Russian mobile users unrivalled integration with our ecosystem with a mobile experience personalised with Yandex apps and services.  Yandex.Phone learns more about its owner’s schedule as they use the phone, and the phone provides notifications based on what its user is doing. Integration with Yandex.Maps gives users timely traffic updates while Yandex.Weather provides hyperlocal forecasting.

Yandex.Phone is the only smartphone in Russia to have Alice completely integrated into the phone.  For the first time, mobile users can use Russia’s most powerful intelligent assistant across all apps and services.  Alice can be activated regardless of what a user is doing on the phone, and the user can employ voice commands to interact with the assistant even when the phone is not being held.

Alice suggests the user dress warmly for cold weather tomorrow.

Yandex.Phone has a 5.65-inch Full HD+ LCD screen with IPS and runs Android 8.1 with our Yandex.Launcher interface, and an octa-core Snapdragon processor powers the phone.  A fingerprint sensor allows users to unlock the phone by touch, with Gorilla Glass on the front and back with an aluminum frame.  The phone has dual 16MP and 5MP rear cameras and a 5MP front camera, both with flash, and 64GB of expandable storage.

The phone retails for 17,990 rubles ($270) and will be available tomorrow at the Yandex Store at our Moscow headquarters.  On December 7, users can buy the phone through Beeline, one of Russia’s largest telecommunications providers, and at M.Video and Eldorado retail electronics stores.  Users will also be able to buy the phone on December 7 through our new Beru e-commerce marketplace, with free delivery across Russia.

In May, we unveiled our first hardware product, the Yandex.Station smart speaker, which brought Alice into homes across Russia for the first time.  With the announcement of two third-party smart speakers last month, our intelligent assistant became available in even more products for the home.  Alice is also now available in cars across Russia, through the Yandex.Auto infotainment system on certain new vehicles and in all vehicles in our Yandex.Drive car-sharing fleet.  Yandex.Phone marks our second hardware release this year and provides the most comprehensive Yandex and Alice mobile experience in Russia.

We’re happy to give our users a new way to engage with our products and services and to provide the most extensive Yandex mobile experience yet.  We look forward to expanding the array of products in the Yandex ecosystem and bringing Alice to an even wider audience.

Alice AI Assistant Coming to More Smart Speakers

Yandex this week unveiled two new third-party smart speakers integrated with our intelligent assistant, Alice.  The IRBIS A and DEXP Smartbox compact smart speakers will be available exclusively from two of the largest consumer electronics retailers in Russia, M.Video and DNS.  The devices will retail for 3290 rubles ($50).

The release of the Yandex.Station smart speaker in May brought our intelligent assistant into homes across Russia.  With the addition of these two new speakers, there are even more possibilities for Alice in the home, as the intelligent assistant can be a helpful aid in any room of the house.  In the kitchen, a smart speaker can help with finding recipes and setting a timer through simple voice commands, while on the nightstand you can ask Alice to set an alarm or play a soothing playlist for sleeping.  Alice can be tasked with setting reminders or saying the news in the living room, while in a child’s room the assistant can be asked to tell a fairy tale or sing a song.


The IRBIS A and DEXP Smartbox are the first third-party devices to be released using the Yandex.IO platform.  Yandex.IO allows manufacturers to turn their products into intelligent devices powered by Alice.

"Intelligent assistants are not just a thing of the future anymore; they are now part of our daily lives.  Yandex.Station users are talking with Alice an average of twenty times a day,” says Director of Experimental Products Konstantin Kruglov.  “To encourage the widespread adoption of intelligent assistants, we have created the Yandex.IO platform, which allows manufacturers to add Alice to their products.  Today, we are pleased to present the first devices created by our partners using this platform."

Both devices are powered by an AC adapter and can be connected to external speakers to bring Alice to a home stereo system.  Each speaker will be bundled with a free six-month subscription of Yandex.Plus, which includes full access to Yandex.Music and discounts and additional features for other Yandex services.

DEXP Smartbox

The IRBIS A and DEXP Smartbox join other third-party devices equipped with Alice such as the Elari KidPhone 3G smartwatch for children and the Sony Xperia Ear Duo headphones.  Consumers can also buy the original Yandex.Station smart speaker, which is now available through our new e-commerce marketplace Beru! (in Russian) in three colors.

Our Intelligent Assistant Alice Turns One

A year ago, Yandex launched its intelligent assistant, Alice, equipped with advanced conversational abilities that uniquely enable users to engage in free-flowing chit-chat.  Alice was first available through our search app, connecting users with many core Yandex services to help navigate their daily routines.  Some of the original services included Search, News, Weather, and Music.  Today, 30 million people use Alice every month on multiple platforms, and the assistant has become more useful and fun through the addition of thousands of new skills.  In honor of one year in production, we wanted to share an update on Alice's growth.

On mobile devices, Alice is available through the Yandex app and Yandex Browser.  In March, Alice was added to Yandex Browser for Windows, making our browser the first to have a voice assistant.  Through the launch of our first hardware product, the Yandex.Station smart speaker, Alice became available to assist users in their homes.  Alice is also used on multiple platforms for transportation, helping users navigate to destinations with voice commands and fewer distractions.  Through the Yandex.Navigator app, Alice assists with directions, while Alice's incorporation into Yandex.Taxi allows users to hail a ride using voice commands.  The vehicles in our market-leading car-sharing service, Yandex.Drive, also employ Alice in the infotainment system to help users with multiple needs in the car.

While Alice excels at helping users better manage their tasks, the assistant can also provide a break from the rigors of the daily grind.  For example, games have become a popular use of the service.  Trivia games serve to both entertain and educate users with fun interactions.  Alice also provides personalized music through integration with Yandex.Music and can help users discover new songs.  With Alice, users can find the name of a song by asking, "Alice, what's playing now?"

Beyond advanced conversational skills, Alice also now has the power of vision with best-in-class reverse image search capabilities.  Users can take a picture of an unfamiliar object, such as a car, animal, or building, and Alice will provide information on the image in near real time.  Within the captured images, Alice can detect text and offer to translate it, as well as find consumer goods on Yandex.Market, Russia's leading price comparison tool.  The skill helps users better connect with the world around them, whether they are traveling and curious about a landmark or spot a pair of shoes to purchase as a gift.

Over the last year, we have continued to add Alice to more Yandex services, but we have also opened up the platform to third-party companies and developers through the Yandex.Dialogues skills platform.  Since introducing Yandex.Dialogues at the end of May, over 1,000 third-party skills have been added to Alice, bringing the total amount of skills to over 28,000.  Users can now book flights, order food, control their smart home, and more.  Yandex actively encourages developers to create new skills for Alice through a competition where they can win monetary rewards for the most useful and exciting skills, as chosen by the Alice team.

Some of the top international companies that have created skills for Alice include Unicredit Bank, ASICS, Reebok, and Papa John's.  Along with skills added by leading Russian brands like S7 Airlines, MegaFon, and Alfa Insurance, users now have thousands of ways to use Alice with the third-party services they use every day.  A great example of this is online banking, which has proven to be one of the most popular skills on Alice.

Thanks to all of our users who have inspired us to develop more capabilities for Alice and to the businesses who have embraced the technology to expand opportunities for their customers.  From the many users who wished Alice a Happy Birthday with the special birthday skill, to the film Hotel Transylvania 3 for featuring Alice in their movie, we are thrilled to see the many ways in which Alice has become part of modern life.  We look forward to another year of growing with Alice!

Expanding the Yandex Intelligent Assistant Ecosystem

Today at our annual Yet Another Conference (YAC) we announced major expansions to the Yandex intelligent assistant ecosystem that includes our new smart speaker, a new skills platform for our intelligent assistant Alice, and a new bundled subscription service.  Combined these developments offer the Russian audience more choice and the most advanced ability to navigate the online and offline world to date.

Over the years we have provided the Russian audience with many firsts and many highly localized smart products and services. And over time many of these products and services have come to operate together through our Search app to offer a more fluid user-experience. Last fall we enhanced that experience by introducing our Russian-speaking intelligent assistant Alice - first to mobile through our Search and Browser apps, then to desktops through Yandex Browser, and then to cars through our navigation app, Yandex.Navigator and the forthcoming integration in our Yandex.Auto connected car platform.

Building on our success helping users with tens of millions of daily interactions on Alice on multiple platforms, we are excited to welcome Alice to Russian homes in addition to building out more capabilities and benefits for users of our smart speaker and services.

A new platform & our first hardware launch

Our new smart speaker, Yandex.Station, is not only our first hardware product but it is the first smart speaker for the Russian market. With the introduction of Yandex.Station, Russian users now have the ability to rely on Alice and voice commands to manage a number of routine tasks in their homes.

Yandex.Station is the first smart speaker to incorporate a full video streaming experience.  A HDMI output allows Yandex.Station users to ask Alice to search for and playback videos, movies and television shows from a wide variety of sources.  Currently, Yandex.Station has access to Yandex's video streaming service KinoPoisk, as well as a wide range of other content including premium local video service providers ivi and Amediateka.

Yandex.Station will be available for purchase for 9,990 roubles ($160) this summer.

More collaboration and capabilities for our intelligent assistant

To further expand Alice’s functionality on Yandex.Station and all other platforms, we created a developers skills platform for Alice called Yandex.Dialogues.  This platform is designed to make it easy for any 3rd party developer to create new skills for Alice, ranging from a beginner programmer working on their first game to a major brand that can further enhance their customer experiences, such as a restaurant chain taking food orders.

Through Yandex.Dialogues developers can empower Alice to create custom conversations with users.  Developers choose a custom hotword that a potential customer can then use to activate a custom chat, game or whatever service has been developed. For example, a customer can say, “Alice, launch the Papa John’s skill” to activate Papa John’s skill that handles their pizza ordering.  Developers can also uniquely incorporate a live-chat feature to manage customer service that can include chatbots and live human operators to provide the best possible user experience.

The Dialogues chat functionality will also be available on Yandex’s search results page to further expand their reach.

Yandex.Dialogues is mutually beneficial for both our users and businesses. Users gain more choice and more efficient interactions with companies, while businesses have an innovative opportunity to reach and serve new and existing audiences.

Thanks to the creativity of hundreds of developers during the three-month beta testing period for Dialogues, Alice now allows users to interact with some of their favorite brands.   

Alice has the capability to help users order a pizza from Papa John’s, groceries from Utkonos and flowers from Flowwow.  Alice can also help users check MegaFon mobile phone account balances, exercise with Reebok, select air tickets from S7, search for a job with HeadHunter, study English with SkyEng, browse a McDonald’s menu, and consult with a Sberbank bot.  With Dialogues now publically available we look forward to all of the new skills that will help Alice serve users’ needs better.

New benefits and options for our users  

When it comes to offering more benefits for our products and services, we launched a new bundled subscription service for Yandex products, Yandex.Plus,that provides advanced opportunities to utilize the Yandex ecosystem.

Owners of the new Yandex.Station will receive a complimentary one-year subscription to Yandex.Plus, which regularly costs 169 roubles ($2.75) per month, and includes:

  • Complete access to Yandex.Music, including unlimited downloads to mobile devices and high-quality music streaming.
  • A 10% discount for Yandex.Taxi rides in the Comfort, Comfort+ and Business categories.
  • Free delivery for customers in over 30 locations in Russia spending over 500 roubles on Yandex.Market's new marketplace recently launched in beta.
  • A 5% discount for any Yandex.Drive ride with an extended car reservation period.
  • Ad-free viewing of films and television series on the web-based version of KinoPoisk.
  • Additional 10GB of free storage space on Yandex.Disk.

As we reflect on these important expansions to the Yandex intelligent ecosystem, we are excited by the advancements and opportunities this creates for the Russian audience and the entire global technology community.  

An update on our intelligent assistant Alice

Last fall we launched our intelligent assistant Alice, providing the Russian market with an assistant equipped with high-quality conversational abilities and advanced understanding of context. We were especially excited to provide users with this unique interactive feature and we were humbled by the overwhelming positive feedback we received.  Today Alice engages in tens of millions of interactions every day to millions of daily active users.

While we have been thrilled to see the adoption (plus all our users’ funny memes and screenshots), we were also eager to keep Alice on track in advancing its development as a centralized tool that integrates multiple useful services, which started with Search, Weather, News, Maps, Transport, and Music.  Over the course of Alice’s first six months in production, we introduced several new features and capabilities to provide users with even more assistance.  We shared those updates to our Russian users as they happened but wanted to provide a recap to our English audience before we enter the next phase of development and expand Alice’s capabilities even further:

  • Integration with Yandex.Navigator: Alice is now helping drivers stay safer on the roads through integration with Yandex.Navigator, Yandex’s navigation system that serves over 18 million drivers every month.  With the help of Alice and advanced speech technologies, drivers can ask Alice to help provide routes to destinations, locate the nearest gas station, and find open parking spots among other features.  While Yandex.Navigator previously handled specific voice commands, the integration with Alice has enhanced the service to offer more natural interaction on relevant navigation topics.
  • Integration with Yandex.Taxi: Through integration with our market-leading Yandex.Taxi app, Alice can also help book taxi orders by checking the address or name of the desired organization and then launching the Yandex.Taxi order page with all relevant information. After a user makes the request, he or she just needs to hit the order button once Alice has loaded all relevant information.
  • Interactive Games: Alice offers users a chance to test their knowledge and entertain themselves with over 16 interactive games.  Alice’s games help challenge users with their knowledge of various topics through trivia style games such as This day in history, Guess the Animal, and Fact or Fiction.
  • Integration with Yandex Browser for desktop: Through integration with Yandex Browser, Alice offers users a new way to interact with their computer through voice.  In addition to other standard functions offered through mobile, Alice provides assistance with operations in both the browser and the computer. Alice can help open a favorite YouTube channel, play a song and change the volume in addition to other options such as launching Word or shutting down the computer.
  • Math and currency conversions: Alice helps users quickly solve their advanced banking and math questions through voice commands. Alice computes math questions in addition to helping with currency conversions.
  • Timer and Alarm: Alice helps users stay on schedule with the timer and alarm functions that are integrated into Android.  Whether it is setting a timer while cooking or a reminder, Alice users can simply ask Alice to help them stay organized.

As part of this process to expand Alice’s capabilities and ecosystem even further, we introduced a beta version of Yandex.Dialogues, which provides developers the opportunity to develop new skills for Alice.  We believe that some of the best products come from collaboration and diversity and we look forward to Alice’s growth through this initiative.  We are excited to share more news on the development of Alice in the coming future!