Yandex Launches International Search Engine

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May 20 – Russia’s biggest internet firm, Yandex, is set to launch an international version of its search engine at, company official Ochir Mandgikov publicized yesterday.

Yandex declared in an earlier announcement that its search engine has indexed over four billion unique web pages in foreign languages during the past two years, of which 80 percent are in English.

“Yandex has publicly declared that it provides a high-grade search in foreign sites,” Finam analyst Vladislav Kochetkov said, adding that the company is now ready to compete with world class internet firms such as Google. Kochetkov considers this to be a “very important result for Runet (Russian internet).”

According to marketing research company comScore, not only did Yandex ranked seventh among the top 10 world search engines last year (based on the number of search inquiries), but it also had the fastest growing rate (94 percent). The three search engines to top the list in 2009 were Google with 76.7 billion searches conducted per month, or 67.5 percent of the market share, Yahoo with 8.9 billion searches (7.8 percent share), followed closely by Chinese search engine Baidu with 8 billion searches (7.0 percent share).

Russian paper Vedomosti speculates that having an index of four billion URLs is not enough to compete with global search market champions. According to comScore data, the global search market indexed about 100 billion webpages. Yandex itself has indexed 5.25 billion Russian and CIS countries webpages. Meanwhile, Google announced in 2008 that its search engine had indexed over one trillion unique web pages from all around the globe.

Nonetheless, some experts believe that these four billion web pages will help prevent Russian internet users switching from Yandex to the competition. Yandex is currently losing between 1.5 and 2 million users everyday.

“Yandex needs to index 20 billion webpages to become a valuable world class search engine competitor,” founder Victor Lavrenko said. He also believes that the company has to promote its search engine overseas.

But Ochir Mandgikov pointed out that Yandex doesn’t have a plan for overseas promotion. “At present, the service is for Russian users,” he said.

Yandex was founded in 2000 by Arkady Volozh and Ilya Segalovich who currently own around 30 percent of the firm.

According to Liveinternet data, Yandex’s shares in Runet for April 2010 were 63.6 percent, Google 21.8 percent, and 8 percent.