Since its launching in 1997, Yandex has established himself as the indisputable leader on the Runet search engine market. The competition is getting stronger and stronger though and Google has been able to increase its market share in the last couple of years. As a consequence, Yandex is now diversifying its activities by developing its own mobile applications, from taxi service to geolocalization or transport-based service. Nowadays Yandex is present in a wide range of different areas and is constantly looking for new domains to invest in.
Deep localization, including local language support and a rich local content (maps, schedules, traffic…) has been one of the keys to Yandex’s success on the Russian web. Regarding its business model and key financial figures, Yandex has generated a revenue of RUB 50.8 billion ($902.4 million) in 2014, a growth of 29% compared with the previous year. The main part of its revenues comes from text based advertising (93%) and the rest is provided by display advertising (7%).
More than just facing with great success the American juggernaut ‘Google’, Yandex reached a high level of sophisticated applications for smartphones. Creative and innovative, the potential here is exponential. Starting merely by Google inspired programs such as Yandex Maps, the company made its mark with applications whose effects were almost revolutionary in terms of social and economic habits: people have greatly appreciated the arriving of Yandex Taxi, which has allowed a safer, more organized transport market.
Examples are numerous, let’s have a glance at some of them:
The Yandex marketplace, called Yandex Master, where ‘master’ means someone who does their job really well, is currently available in the biggest Eastern European cities such as Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Kiev, Minsk or Odessa.
In order to be more global and to reach a broader audience, Yandex Master has recently been integrated to a global app called Yandex Job, entirely dedicated to work seeking. The objectif is simple: becoming the Russian reflex for job-hunting.
Residents in the Eastern Europe make more than a million of searches about help with small errands and household services per month. Yandex Master was designed to bring transparency, structure and safety to a chaotic market of private household services in Russia. Provider ratings and client feedback on the marketplace are expected to promote open competition, which in its turn will organise service pricing and improve the quality of services in general.
Yandex has already seen success with structuring an offline market. Yandex Taxi, our taxi service aggregator, was launched in Moscow in 2011 when the ‘gypsy cab’ culture reigned on the road. Random pricing, old and dirty cars, unpredictable and illegal drivers, road accidents have all been eliminated with the introduction of a desktop service supplemented with an app that was based on automated algorithms, aggregation, ranking, client feedback and a tight control of service quality. It took only slightly more than one year to completely transform the taxi service market in Moscow and St Petersburg and make a taxi ride predictable price-wise, safe and enjoyable for any client. Taxi service companies in these two cities receive more than 700,000 taxi bookings per month through Yandex.Taxi. It’s a valuable client source for them and it makes them care about their reputation, while Yandex receives percentage from each booking.
Yandex.Taxi and Get.Taxi are two very similar apps that allow you to order a taxi based on your current location or address. You can use the option “Get Taxi Now” or indicate a specific time. You can choose the best rates (economy, comfort or business) and mark that you’d rather get a ride with a non-smoking driver. Depending on the taxi company that picks up your order, you can pay using cash or Visa/MasterCard.
Wheely is an app specifically for the business traveler. It promises “a private driver” type of service and Wheely delivers just that. The driver will arrive in a short amount of time in a business class type of car. You can also make a reservation for later. Most drivers are non-smokers and wear business suits while cars are clean and nice. You connect your credit card to the app, and it will be charged immediately after the trip. You get a receipt by email.
YANDEX PARKING … AND FINES!
As well as helping drivers locate a free space, the app lets them pay to park, and pay only for the specific time they have been parked — refunding any overspend if they leave before their ticket has expired.
The app launch follows Yandex’s acquisition of a low-powered mobile geo-location startup KitLocate, last March. The latter’s technology had previously been used to power a street parking and payment service, with its geo-fencing algorithms used to identify when a driver had vacated a space in order to trigger an alert to stop an in-app parking meter to calculate the exact parking fee. Yandex is evidently using the same tech now in its own brand parking app play.
Yandex’s app displays unoccupied municipal and commercial parking spaces on a map view, with vacant space data updated every 10-15 minutes (with the data provided by Moscow’s Parking Space Administration — so it’s not a real-time representation of parking capacity).
Parking fees are also detailed in the app. And users of another Yandex service, its sat-nav offering Yandex. Navigator, can tap a button to be routed to a spare spot once they’ve considered their parking options. So you have no excuse to “forget” to pay your parking in Moscow’s street ! And even if it’s happen, you’ll be notified that you have received a fine…whish you can immediately pay on Yandex Fines app of course !
Google Maps is a very accurate app which builds routes and gives directions for driving, walking and using public transportation.Yandex.Maps does the same, plus it shows you traffic levels rated from 1 to 10. If the traffic level is at five right now, it is better to use public transportation if you need to be somewhere on time. Yandex also has a great search feature which offers a menu of nearby bars, restaurants, fast food locations, gas stations, drugstores, etc. The app gives you basic information about the location plus directions on how to get there
It builds the most convenient metro route based either on your current location or the station name you type in. The app does not require an internet connection so you can use it on the go. You can get an estimation of your journey time and find out which carriage to sit in to avoid lengthy walks to the other end of the platform. There is an app adapted for each transport (train, bus, trolley, metro, bus, tramway…)
Yandex Disk is a cloud storage service that provides 10 GB of free storage space to any user (each subscriber starts with only 3 GB but can have as much as 10 GB by uploading files and referring friends who become subscribers).
It saves personal datas on a virtual folder and can be accessed and viewed via a desktop or a mobile device. The main quality of this application is its simplicity and its efficiency.
SO THERE IS A YANDEX STORE
Yandex created in 2013 his own appstore called Yandex Store for Android-based smartphones and tablets, but due to several conflicts with Google, most applications related to the American giant are not present on it. With only 150,000 applications in the store, Yandex still needs more time and experience to really challenge Google Play and its 1.8 Million applications available (November 2015).
Yandex is now pre-installed on all Nokia Android devices. In addition to that, several brands such as Huawei or Explay incorporate the Yandex Kit firmware – which allows to build and customize the set of components (app store, home screen, browser, maps library and cloud technology) in all of their devices.
The Russian company can rely on a constant and creative flow of mobile apps to ensure its success, all available on … Yandex store of course !