|Facebook Makes Inroads in Russia With Yandex Partnership|
By Kurt Wagner
January 14, 2014
Facebook is turning up the heat on its quest for users in Russia.
Russian search engine Yandex will now return public Facebook posts and comments in its search results as part of a partnership announced Tuesday. Yandex announced the partnership Tuesday on its website, and Facebook posts will appear for Yandex users in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Turkey.
The relationship is a big step for Facebook, which competes with a Russian social network called VK, or Vkontakte, a network Mark Zuckerberg called a Facebook "clone" back in October.
“They’ve made such an awesome clone of Facebook it’s been hard to beat them,” Zuckerberg said at a Y Combinator event covered by AllThingsD (now Re/Code). “It’s almost been 10 years since we started Facebook, and we still haven’t beaten them in Russia.”
Yandex already generates more than 60% of Russia's search traffic, according to the company's website, and partnering with Facebook could help improve the company's search capabilities by adding more content and getting ahead of trending topics. Yandex already partners with other social networks, including Twitter and VK, and says that it shows no allegiances, but strives to provide users as much information as possible.
"We don’t compete with anybody in the sphere of social networks; instead we seek to collaborate with all the players," Yandex included in its press release. "We see one of our key tasks as being the creation of social search services, using content from all the popular social networks in equal measure."
The benefit for Facebook, of course, is that more of its content will appear in front of potential users. The timing works well, too. You can bet many Russians and fellow Eastern Europeans will have plenty to share with next month's Winter Olympics scheduled in Sochi, Russia.
The search results will only incorporate public Facebook posts: private posts and comments will not be searchable. This new feature is already available to Yandex users in all the countries mentioned above, with the exception of Turkey.