Yandex Facebook
January 14, 2014

Russian Search Engine Yandex Sets Facebook Firehose On Full Blast

Enid Burns for - Your Universe Online

In a move that benefits both parties, Russian-based search engine Yandex will now include Facebook content in its search results. The search engine is likening the potential to turning on a firehose to place a volume of search results that will be available from Facebook content.

Yandex says it is reacting to the rise in popularity of social networks. People turn to social networks to get updates from friends, families, and even share news and opinions.

"It follows that information about the hot topics in social networks is an important factor for a search engine in answering users’ questions. The intensity of discussion on any subject in social media is proof of the topic’s relevance, or 'hotness' if you will. A search engine has to take this into consideration," said a Yandex corporate statement.

Facebook will allow Yandex access to its public data. "This means that now, not only can Yandex search for people and company pages on Facebook, it can also search for content marked 'Public' from users in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Turkey. Of course, anything users mark as 'Private' will remain off-limits," the statement said.

The deal with Facebook is similar to one made between Yandex and Twitter. Yandex also indexes status updates in LiveJournal, VK and other social networks. Currently, Facebook posts from users in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan will come up in search results on the blogs part of Yandex search. Yandex plans to add the content to the main search page.

"Yandex will add up-to-date articles and videos, among other things that have had great resonance among Facebook users. In addition, the popularity of materials in the social network will be taken into consideration when ranking search results," Yandex said.

The agreement is non-cash based, Reuters reports, and stands to benefit both parties. Yandex will improve the quality of its search results while Facebook will get more traffic. Both Yandex and Facebook make a significant portion of revenues from advertising.

Russian social networking companies such as Vkontakte dominate the Russian online landscape. Facebook is estimated to hold a rank of fourth place among social networks in the region, according to Reuters. The deal with Yandex will improve its visibility. However, Yandex also shows content from other social networks in its search results.

The deal between Yandex and Facebook has reportedly been in the works for a year, VentureBeat reports. Discussions are said to have started in January of 2013.

"Around that time, Facebook appears to have blocked access to Yandex's social search app in a bid to aggressively protect its data. It's not clear what's changed since then, as Facebook seems far more willing to work with Yandex," VentureBeat's Christina Farr wrote.

The two companies have actually worked on projects together in the past. Yandex and Facebook created a social search app called Wonder about a year ago, which is when Facebook blocked it and shut down the app.