Exploring Partnership with Yandex

Since before Firefox 1, search has been built into the browser because it makes the user experience better.  It *also* provides economic benefits, of course, but that’s not the reason that it was included.

In most places in the world, Google is our default search engine –the one that shows up in the search box in a default installation– and our community of users and localizers generally want that to be the case. When we think about which services to build into the browser, and partnerships as a whole, the first goal is to make sure it advances the principles of the Mozilla mission (more fully described in the Mozilla Manifesto). To me this means it has to be both consistent with the values of the project and be additive, whether to the user experience or to promoting the goals of the mission.   This is the first filter and gating to moving forward whether its a formal or informal relationship.  After that, we think about distribution – getting the Mozilla goodness to more human beings.  Once those make sense, we can look for ways the partnership can contribute to the sustainability of the project in a manner that’s consistent with our values.

In Russia, there’s an interesting situation, though: our localizers have been suggesting Yandex as the default search provider for some time. See bug 348096.  The key user benefit offered by Yandex for Russian language users is that they have focused on linguistic characteristics of Cyrillic and on Russian content to create relevant search results. The Russian user base obviously likes them a lot as well.  LiveInternet reports Yandex as having 55% of the Russian search market. Yandex also shares the first and second place for the most trafficked web property in Russia.

In June, they built a “Yandex-flavored” version of Firefox that they distribute themselves, and it’s had a big impact. Since then, users of the Yandex version of Firefox have grown to 300K+.  To date, this represents approximately 1/3 of the total Firefox Russian language user base.

This presents a unique opportunity. It’s one of the rare settings in which an indigenous search engine tuned to a particular language has turned out to be wildly popular, and where the local Mozilla community has consistently made strong, data-based recommendations for a solution unique to the Russian language.  The popularity of Yandex suggests that a number of Russian speakers may be eager to see Yandex as the default.  (Other search engines will of course be provided, as has always been the case with Firefox.)

Given the input of the localization teams, demonstrated user preference, and the existing base of Firefox users, we’re evaluating making Yandex the default search provider for Russian language builds. We’re very interested in broader community feedback to ensure we’ve considered all of the issues.

12 Responses to Exploring Partnership with Yandex

  1. Pingback: John’s Blog » harvey’s post on Yandex

  2. I think that it’s very good idea to use Yandex as default search engine in Russian language builds. Yandex is very popular in Russia, strongly promotes Firefox, mirrors Mozilla builds on http://mirror.yandex.ru/mozilla/. Its search engine properly account for morphology and semantics of Russian language.
    I believe that setting Yandex as default search engine will improve user experience.

  3. Tristan says:

    What Alexander says. Yandex, from what I’ve been told, is a better option than Google in Russia, due to their technology being better at dealing with Russian semantics.

    It’s only what I have heard, as my Russian is definitely too rusty!

  4. Olivier G. says:

    Only for Russian, or for all Cyrillic based languages ?

  5. Tabby says:

    It’s a very good idea to replace Google with Yandex as a default search engine. Although Google is obvious leader in web searching, Yandex is much better adapted for the needs of average Russian-speaking user. Believe me, I’m Russian myself. 🙂 And, if you want, from Yandex website you can in one click re-search your query directly in Google. So Google fans won’t lose much, if any.

  6. Please note that Mail.Ru company (4th in the chart), that shares with Yandex 1st and 2nd place in portal traffic competition is also using Yandex search engine now. They have developed own search gogo.ru having a couple of percents of the market, but they don’t use it for the mail.ru portal. Every couple of years Mail.Ru makes a choice from Yandex / Google / Gogo.ru, once they used Google, but for last years they decided Yandex as the best for their portal users.
    Google grows in Russia, but it pulls out Rambler users. Yandex got down for about 5% a couple of years ago since Google came in, but it does not go down any more.

  7. Pavel says:

    Yandex is market-leader in Russia and definitely is much more trusted, popular and comfortable SE even comparing with Google.
    Google even try make additional adspot campaign on billboards, BTL and online (what as I can notice is out of their principals in other countries) but Yandex still is number one, more lovely and innovative brand. For example, Yandex Blog Search or Yandex News Service are much more clever and hign-quality comparing with the same Google services.

  8. Greg says:

    Yandex is a great site.

  9. Alex says:

    The leading Russian search engine Yandex has launched an outdoor advertising campaign called “Any Questions” The idea behind is that answers to any questions can be found on Yandex 🙂

  10. Ordinal Russian says:

    It’s a pity.

    I suggest you clean vision, and change your mind.

    Yandex lead in web master dissapointing. Its not empty words. Try to see it.

    Thank you all for your work. Firfox rulz! 🙂

  11. Dam says:

    Yandex does not show mirrors to a website, only the main one. Pity!