One of the biggest changes to have taken place in the internet recently is, without doubt, the rise of social networks. They’ve become so popular that it’s now difficult to imagine the internet without them. Millions of people turn to online social networks every day to catch up with friends and family, share news and opinions, or just have a laugh. Like it or not, they’ve become a part of daily life.
It follows that information about the hot topics in social networks is an important factor for a search engine in answering users’ questions. The intensity of discussion on any subject in social media is proof of the topic’s relevance, or “hotness” if you will. A search engine has to take this into consideration.
Here at Yandex, we’ve always said that our specialisation is information-search services, aggregation and the structuring of content. We don’t compete with anybody in the sphere of social networks; instead we seek to collaborate with all the players. We see one of our key tasks as being the creation of social search services, using content from all the popular social networks in equal measure. We want to provide users with the possibility to receive answers that take into account the information that can be gathered from these resources. This would allow a user to find an old friend without having to register on every single social network one after another. It would also allow a user to tap in to all the discussions of some interesting event all together in one place.
We’re already working with Twitter in such a way, and we index status updates in LiveJournal, VK and others.
Today we’re announcing another important step in this direction: Facebook has granted us full access to its “firehose” of public data. This means that now, not only can Yandex search for people and company pages on Facebook, it can also search for content marked “Public” from users in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Turkey. Of course, anything users mark as “Private” will remain off-limits.
At present, Facebook posts from users in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan pop up in search results only on the Blogs part of Yandex Search, but soon they will be added to the service’s main Search page, giving users even fresher answers to their questions about recent and current events. Along with answers to such queries, Yandex will add up-to-date articles and videos, among other things that have had great resonance among Facebook users. In addition, the popularity of materials in the social network will be taken into consideration when ranking search results.