Yandex has announced that it has signed a deal with Facebook which will give the leading search engine in Russia access to the Facebook firehose for “public” content published in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, other CIS countries and Turkey, where Yandex also operates. Content will be available for indexing by Yandex as soon as it has published.
Yandex already has full access to the Twitter firehose – but the deal is interesting because vKontakte, rather than Facebook is the leading social media site in Russia. This arrangement is designed to give Facebook a much more prominent Russian and CIS presence by piggy-backing on the Yandex strength in those markets.
The deal between Facebook and Yandex also represents a turnaround from the “Wonder” app launch where Yandex offered an app bringing together social media content from several sources including Facebook. However, Facebook reacted by closing down Yandex’s access and Yandex withdrew the app.
Yandex has also confirmed that Facebook content will be used to “improve” Yandex’s search results, meaning that it will to some degree influence rankings. Content or videos which resonate within Facebook, for instance, will be given additional prominence in Yandex’s results. The company also says it will help improve freshness. The only other search engine to have similar access is Bing.
Yandex’s search results will display not only Facebook users’ profiles and public posts but also, in the near future, others’ comments on them. Profiles and posts that Facebook users mark “Private” will not be searchable.
The impact on vKontakte, or as it is now known, “VK,” may be significant. Yandex does not have access to VK’s firehose, but whilst the Russian social media site remains the leader in Russia, Facebook is gradually catching up, and this deal may be a tipping point.
Initially, the Facebook content will be seen in blog search, but it will quickly be rolled out to the main search results.