Yandex rolled out a new search algorithm that employs neural networks to retrieve search results based on meaning rather than key words. Named after the village of Palekh, renowned for miniature paintings often featuring a long-tailed bird from Russian folklore, this algorithm is aimed at responding to rare and unique queries — so-called ‘long-tail’ queries — that account for about a third of all searches.
The company started an educational project, Yandex.Lyceum, to teach computer programming to 14-15 year olds. Supported by regional councils for education and IT, the project launched in its first year in Kaluga, Penza, Saratov and Tambov. Classes taught by local teachers and lecturers are held twice a week.
A personalised content recommendation technology called Zen was incorporated into the Yandex browser and the Yandex launcher. Based on the latest developments in artificial intelligence research — including computer vision and natural language processing — it uses the company’s vast global web index to pick stories, images, videos and other content for individual users in Russia, USA, France, the UK, India and Brazil, among other countries.
Yandex Publishing Project
Yandex starts a program aimed at developing and supporting educational web projects in history, literature, linguistics, art and philosophy. The first project to receive the program’s support was Mikhail Zygar’s “1917. Svobodnaya istoriya”.
The year also saw the release of an app for making doctor’s appointments, Yandex.Health, as well as new services for business — Yandex.Telephony, a virtual automated customer communications system, and Yandex.Audience, which helps create target audience segments for ad campaigns. Meanwhile, Yandex.Taxi grew in popularity among corporate clients.