To Russia, with love: better search results.
Facebook signed an agreement with Russian search engine Yandex, giving Moscow’s Google access to certain sets of Facebook data. Yandex will use the Facebook information to improve its search results, creating a social search index. This is a boon for Russian internet users, since Yandex is the most popular search engine there, with over 60% of the market share.
The agreement is non-cash, Reuters reports. Yandex will gain free access to a wealth of data from public posts by users from Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Turkey, all places where Yandex search has a substantial presence.
Yandex, along with China’s Baidu and South Korea’s Naver, is an anomaly in the search world because it has managed to beat Google on its home turf. And adding Facebook’s indexing data will only strengthen the company’s search cachet in the countries it already dominates.
A Yandex spokesperson told Reuters that Facebook will benefit by getting more traffic. Just as Russia’s native search engine is more popular than international competitors, Facebook isn’t as popular in Russia as native social platform Vkontakte, and currently sits as the fourth-most used social network. So the boost in traffic could help Facebook gain more Russian fans.
This appears to be a win-win-win deal for Facebook, Yandex, and Yandex users, although I’m sure Google and the local Russian social networks can’t be too happy about it.