Search engine today
Traditionally, the task of any search engine was to find information on the internet. But now that role has expanded. The internet can no longer be seen as separate from the reality surrounding us, and search engines now have to look for all kinds of things, not just online but all over the offline world as well. And they don’t just look for things and find them – they also give helpful suggestions in any real-life situation. Contemporary search understands the desires of every individual user, as well as the reality in which the user exists. That’s why it can give suitable suggestions for each person, individually – including what to read, where to go for a meal, what music to listen to, how to get home in the fastest possible way, where to book the cheapest flights, and much more.
Search always was and still remains Yandex’s core product, but now we have a broader understanding of its role: that of a universal aid, an assistant, a guide to everything that surrounds us. It’s about giving the right suggestion at the right place and time, help making a choice, and the possibility to get things done.
The happiness of the user
All of Yandex’s products are designed to make people’s lives easier and better. Each helps users to do something that once seemed impossible. A few years ago we couldn’t imagine reading a text in an unfamiliar language without looking up every word in a dictionary, or having the address of the nearest pharmacy at our fingertips anywhere in a city, or getting a taxi without having to wait. Now, all this is completely normal – all these feats have become simple tasks that we take for granted.
That’s what Yandex does – it creates services for people. Services with both, a deep understanding of the user’s interests and profound knowledge of the users’ reality. Services that change life as we know it and help people achieve their goals.
The concept of the ‘happiness of the user’ is crucial for us. Among other things it means that how useful and user-friendly a product is matters more than how much money we can make from it. If a product or service that we create is liked by people, its business model will follow. Provided that the user’s interests are also taken into account.
Our work is based on a technological approach and statistical verification of all substantial changes to our products or services. Any change must be objectively justified to help us understand whether it is really beneficial for users.
Yandex is a technological company. Our products and services are based on complex, unique technologies that aren’t easily replicated. That’s what enables us to do things that once would’ve sounded like magic.
Practically all of Yandex’s services use machine learning – including in the ranking of search results, serving online advertisements, and performing translations. In 2009 Yandex developed and implemented its own machine learning method – MatrixNet.
Thanks to speech recognition technology, users can communicate verbally with the Yandex.Navigator street navigation app instead of typing in addresses manually. The users of our Yandex.Mail service can quickly find certain e-mails in their accounts – such as tickets, appointment or meeting notifications, information about discounts – all automatically marked by our fact extraction technology. We use our own computer vision methods to find similar images. In 2011, we launched a service for statistical machine translation – one of only three of this kind that currently exist in the world.
Our technologies and services run on tens of thousands of servers. We have Russia’s largest network for data storage and processing. We share our data processing capacities with our partners working in, among other things, nuclear research and geological exploration.
Science and education
Our team of specialists represents many scientific disciplines, including mathematics, data analysis, programming, linguistics, and many others. Besides working on products and technologies at Yandex, some of our experts teach, lecture and train students and young specialists.
We run our own educational programs. The Yandex School of Data Analysis, offering free courses for university graduates and senior students, has been running since 2007. The school trains specialists in internet data processing, data analysis and fact extraction. The school’s graduates find employment at Yandex and many other companies. Yandex also has schools for project managers, user interface developers and other specialists in IT. We also partner with Russia’s leading research centres and universities, including the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology and the Higher School of Economics. Yandex’s experts give lectures to high school students. We sponsor a number of school contests in computer programming, mathematics and linguistics.
Russia's largest technology conference, Yet another Conference, which is organised by Yandex every year, gathers industry experts from all over the world. We also run scientific conferences on machine learning, as well as seminars, lectures, workshops and master classes for those who wish to make or have already made a career in the internet industry.
Balance of ecosystem
Yandex affects the internet ecosystem as much as any other key player on the market. We understand that it is our responsibility to make sure that our influence is beneficial. Our core value is the interests of our users. To serve the interests of our users, we need an open, diverse environment with a multitude of quality resources.
Products and services for users can only be developed in cooperation with all market participants, taking their interests into consideration. We create platform solutions and develop transparent conditions for collaboration for the end-users to enjoy the benefits as a result.
One of our most important goals is to create platforms that can be used not only by the players on the internet market, but also by all other businesses, from shops to taxi companies. We create new instruments that enable people to interact with these businesses – wherever they are or whatever goal they are trying to achieve.
Yandex’s history began in the early 1990s – long before the company was founded. Yandex as a company appeared in 2000, three years after the launch of the web portal yandex.ru. At that point there were only 25 names on the new company's payroll and all data Yandex processed could fit on a single server. Now Yandex has offices and representations in seven countries, employing more than 6,000 people. In our home market, Russia, our share of all search traffic is 57.6% (LiveInternet, Q1 2016). We also operate in Belarus, Kazakhstan, Turkey and Ukraine. More than 55.2 million people in Russia use our services on their desktop computers (TNS Web Index, 12-64 y. o., April 2016).
Most of our revenues are derived from contextual advertising, which delivers ads for products and services based on what web users are looking for. Our Yandex.Direct service was the first and is the largest system for the placement of text-based ads in Russia. In addition to serving advertisements on our own search results pages, we run ads on thousands of third-party websites that make up our Yandex Advertising Network.
Our company became profitable in 2002 and its revenues have been continually growing ever since. In May 2011 Yandex went public on the NASDAQ stock exchange, under the ticker YNDX.