Yandex.ru is Russia’s biggest search engine. Russia is a fast growing market. The fastest growing market in Europe. Yandex has access to some of the best brains in the world. Russian’s are very patriotic even more than Americans. I have worked for a Russian company once, so i know.
Last month, Yandex went public on the Nasdaq Its current valuation is 4.4 billion dollars. Baidu, the largest search engine in China has a 47 billion dollar valuation.
This is how i think the future will play out:
I am going to use a comparison to Baidu as well.
Google is active in Russia and has an office there since 2006. Yandex started officially in 2000. the technology started in 1997.
The reason why yandex currently has a lead is two-fold:
One is Opera & Firefox are the two most popular browsers in Russia. (check out this very cool statistic from statcounter). Yandex is the default search engine on both of them. In 2010 Yandex took the chrome browser and customized it to include Yandex as the default search engine. Chrome is gaining significantly in Russia just like everywhere else in the World.
The second reason why Yandex is number one is because they have a good algorithm which they say is ahead of google in some respects. I cannot confirm that as i don’t speak Russian.
What will happen:
Chrome will keep on gaining market share until it is the most installed browser in the world. Why this will happen is clear. Chrome is faster than all other browsers and it integrates Google search seamlessly with Google suggestions included. Chrome will also be standard browser on all mobile devices at some point because of Android.
Yandex won’t be able to fend of the rise of Chrome. Google will eventually update their algorithms to better work with Russian language once they consider the market big enough. Today you can take a whole market by storm. The days are over where you had a lead just because you started sooner.
Unlike China, where Google decided to exit the market voluntarily because Chinese govt people are just dickheads, Google is going to stay in Russia and compete openly.
Yandex could come and build their own browser that outperforms Chrome. I think this is the only way to stay on top. They can’t stay on top by promoting Chrome. (chrome.yandex.ru)
I googled chrome on yandex. The first link is to the yandex chrome and the second is to google. So when i read an article about chrome and i search it I am going to click on the google link cause i know its a google product.
On the other hand, One has to also consider Russian’s pride in their own company.
A lot of Russians are going to be using Yandex just cause its a Russian company.
With all the talent they can also move really fast.
I think its worth it to give Yandex a shot and invest a little bit of money in it just because i think they can be really innovative in terms of intelligent algorithms. But i would never consider a full position on them giving the looming threat of Chrome.
Google Plus won’t have any effect on which search engine is going to be used.
Yandex is considering moving into Poland. According to one blogger who speaks russian and polish he says that makes perfect sense.
to keep track of what yandex is doing go to company.yandex.com/