Yandex.Store to Be Featured on Jolla’s New Smartphone
13 November, 2013
Jolla, an independent mobile developer from Finland, has chosen Yandex.Store for the Android app distribution on their new smartphone. Yandex.Store will be preinstalled on the highly-anticipated Jolla device.
The Finnish smartphone maker has been attracting a lot of industry and media attention for their Sailfish OS, a Linux-based, open mobile operating system, which they have been developing based on previously Nokia-backed MeeGo. Former Nokians did what they do best: they developed a smartphone – a smartphone that would carry Sailfish OS ‘to offer choice, to bring something different to an industry [which is] stagnating under the Android + iOS duopoly’.
What Jolla also did was make their Sailfish OS Android-compatible and pick Yandex.Store for their Android app distribution. Yandex.Store, an alternative Android app store, which currently features over 85,000 apps in 17 categories, offers the best and most popular social networking and communication apps, such as Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Skype, Viber, WeChat, as well as games, productivity apps and music apps. The up-and-coming alternative Android app store has an in-app purchase opportunity and is available on smartphones and tablets in 37 languages.
"Jolla's strategy is always to work with the most applicable service partners in specific markets and create long-term strategic partnerships. We analysed a number of alternative Android app stores to use for our first markets in Europe, and quickly found out that what Yandex offered was very competitive and that they were very interested in developing their app store together with us for their future needs and for the needs of Sailfish customers", says Sami Pienimaki, co-founder of Jolla.
Jolla and Yandex.Store were made for each other. We both like dialogue. We both like to talk to the developer community and to our users, and we both want to hear them. We both support community-based initiatives promoting choice and fair market. Jolla is the initiator of Sailfish OS, an open mobile operating system, aimed ‘to bring innovation to a stagnating market and help mobile industry players to stay on the bleeding edge of the mobile OS development’. Yandex.Store is a supporter of One Platform Foundation, a global open-source initiative, whose aim is to help users, app developers and OEMs to cope with Android fragmentation.
Jolla and Yandex.Store were united by one purpose – make the life of every Android app developer easier. Yandex.Store, created and supported by app developers, understands better than anyone else what app developers want. And what they want is a quick and easy way to distribute their apps to a maximum number of stores. Now, anyone submitting their Android app to Yandex.Store can enjoy a new distribution channel – Sailfish OS on Jolla smartphones.
Yandex.Metrica Knows Who Used Your App on Android via 3G in London One Hour Ago
21 October, 2013
– and will tell you all about it just in a couple of clicks
Other than being one of the most popular search engines on the planet, we also make mobile apps. Just like everyone else. As of today, there are 25 apps published by Yandex, from maps and photos to cloud storage and navigation, enjoyed by millions users on their iPhones, iPads, Windows Phones, Android phones and other devices all over the world. Our users have always been our first priority; naturally, to meet all their expectations and maybe do more, we want to know who they are – where they come from, what device and operating system they use, which language they prefer for their interface, what type of connection they have and which provider they use, what they do in the app and how long it takes.
Like any other mobile developer, we tried and tested all sorts of mobile analytics solutions, free and paid. Some of them allowed us to view how many users we had per day or how many of our users were from London. Others went a step further and told us how many users from London we had per day. At a push, we could also see how many users from London per day we had on Android devices.
Only a few of the mobile analytics solutions that we tried could provide us with information in real time. All of them required quite a lot of time and effort to create data reports, which would combine a large number of parameters. We wanted to know more, we wanted it fast and we wanted it to be easy. So, we made an app usage analytics tool of our own - Yandex.Metrica for Apps.
Our good, old and trusted web analytics tool Yandex.Metrica has been measuring site traffic, visitor behavior and ad efficiency for Yandex since 2008. From 2009, the year when Yandex.Metrica became publicly available, millions of websites, online services and advertising clients have been using this tool free of charge. So, we tweaked the analytics tool we loved to use for websites to use it for our apps. And now, our Yandex.Metrica for Apps becomes available to all mobile developers anywhere in the world to use for free.
Yandex.Metrica for Apps is a combination of all the lovely qualities that any mobile app developer will love:
Easy-to-read, custom-made reports
Popular mobile platforms
Any mobile developer can now see almost in real time a day-by-day breakdown for one week of the number of new users, say, in London and San Francisco who made an in-app purchase using the 1.01 version of the app on Samsung Galaxy S4:
Or, the number of new users of the app’s 1.10 version in the U.S. who spent 30 to 60 seconds interacting with the app, by device:
Or, all the crashes your app had in one week, by device type:
Or, the number of crashes the new users of the app’s version 1.02 on tablets in Germany had in one week:
To start generating personalised reports on your app’s usage, register at appmetrica.yandex.com, receive the API key and integrate SDK Yandex.Metrica for Apps into your app. Your reports will be available for viewing in your account at appmetrica.yandex.com within just one minute after integration.
The next version of Yandex.Metrica for Apps, on which we are working hard right now, will include marketing tools, which will complement the existing statistical tools. The new options will give developers an opportunity to see their traffic sources and funnels and use advanced event settings. We cannot wait.
And those of you in London on October 22 or 23 can come and see Yandex.Metrica for Apps in action at our stand 437 at the developer conference and exhibition Apps World in Earls Court. Alex Kochubey, our very own Yandex.Store developer, who spends more time segmenting his user audience than enjoying any other of life’s pleasures, will show and tell all about it.
Well, search has been personalised already. How about the rest of the internet?
1 October, 2013
At Yandex we’ve long been striving to tailor search results especially for every individual user – and we can already do it pretty well.
Our Personalised Search fetches results and delivers search suggestions individually for each user based on the many things we know about them – including their geographical location, language preferences, search history and clicks in search results. The user's search history tells the search engine what may be currently relevant for this particular user, and whether he or she would appreciate getting search results in English, for instance. Our MatrixNet machine-learning algorithms allow our search engine to look at users as live, multi-faceted human beings: gender, age, sphere of activity and domestic status are just some of the qualities it knows how to consider when delivering personalised search results and suggestions.
Well, naturally we couldn’t stop there, and we started thinking about how to take this great idea one step further. Once we’d developed personalised search, another idea arose: if we can personalise search results, why not personalise the whole internet? Introducing …. (drum roll, please) …. Atom!
Atom is one of Yandex’s new technology concepts. It allows any web resource to be adapted (or personalised) for nearly any person, even if they have not visited that web resource before but have a search history at Yandex.
For example, a site selling package tours is more likely to satisfy a user (and make a sale) if its main page only shows those tours that are likely to be of most interest to that user, based on his or her past behavior online. If a site can work out how to reconfigure its front page or catalogue according to the interests of any given person – and deliver what’s needed right at the start -- then it follows that the person will return to the site again and again.
How does it all work? We “talk” to a site through an API, telling the site what to show, in what order, in what priority, for each individual. We’d like to emphasise that we don’t give third-party sites any private information about the user – none of their cookies, nor their search history. We process all that information ourselves.
At present Atom exists on the level of a concept that we will be developing over the next few years together with the internet community. It’s an ambitious plan, which will work only if it gets the support of everybody – users, web site owners, web masters.
And who wins? First of all – users, who will get only relevant and useful information on their PC or tablet or smartphone screen. Imagine a newswire website where all new items are interesting for everybody. Nothing to be left unread. Or an e-commerce service delivering not only recommendations based on their own statistics, but considering much more extensive behaviour of a user in the internet. A personal internet – for each, their own – is coming. That would be the huge shift in upcoming years or even decades. Stay tuned!
Not All Your Clients Look Alike – unless we handpick them for you
16 September, 2013
We have been precision-targeting our advertising audiences for quite a while. First, we fed the information about online behavior of millions of our users to our online behavior analytics technology Crypta, which used the unique capabilities of our machine learning method MatrixNet to learn how to tell men from women and one age group from another and show them only the relevant banner ads.
And now, we took it a notch further by covering all kinds of demographics and audiences with one universal clickthrough-oriented targeting tool, which shows banner ads to web users based on similarity of their online behaviour to the behaviour of those web users who have already visited or performed specific actions on the advertiser's website.
Our new Crypta-powered targeting technology finds patterns in a website visitor behaviour and then tracks down those who exhibit similar behaviour online. Combined with the information about users' actions on a website, provided by our website analytics tool Yandex.Metrica, the new targeting allows advertisers to show their ads to a very narrow audience – those who have already made a purchase on their website, for instance. Or, conversely, those who put an item in the basket, but didn't pay for it. Any website owner with at least 15,000 visitors per week – the minimal sample size for the technology to find patterns – can use this targeting.
The look-alike targeting works only for those users, whose behaviour matches to a large degree – for up to 80%, for instance. The behaviour match threshold varies from audience to audience and depends on advertisers' goals.
Field tests showed impressive results. Using our look-alike targeting, clothing company Quelle managed to increase clickthrough rates from their banner ads by 300%.
We also experimented with manual campaign optimisation and boosted first results for Quelle by almost 100% in the fourth week. Our next step is to offer automated campaign optimisation individually to each of our advertisers.
Besides increasing conversion rates at virtually no cost, look-alike targeting gives advertisers some generous windfall in the form of additional visitors who delayed their conversion. KIA's advertising campaign with look-alike targeting showed 145% increase in delayed conversions compared with conversion rates from the same banner ads without look-alike targeting.
Tolstoy Campers Cross Finish Line
2 September, 2013
Graduates of our summer school for startups, Tolstoy Summer Camp, which we announced in May 2013, have now presented their projects to investors and some even secured financial support, in addition to advice, a biscuit and an encouraging pat on the back.
We opened this summer school to give young and enthusiastic boys and girls a chance to hatch their ideas and develop them into fully functioning projects in a supportive and nurturing environment, which would also be as close to real life as possible. Most importantly, the school would teach the bright and brilliant how to pitch their ideas to investors and give them an opportunity to do just that and receive funding for their projects at the end of the program.
‘Russia’s talent is as numerous as its territory is vast. We felt that we had enough resources and experience to gather the like-minded, gifted and eager people with brilliant ideas and fast-track them straight to realisation of these ideas,’ says Ksenia Yolkina, Tolstoy Summer Camp’s director. ‘The startup climate in Russia is quite favourable at the moment, with more money on the market than viable ideas. Tolstoy Summer Camp aimed at giving the startup community in Russia a boost with a few working projects developed from a few interesting ideas and released at the end of the Camp.’
From the total of 1,075 applications we received, 65 candidates from Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Kazakhstan and US were chosen. We paid for their travel to Moscow and covered part of their living expenses for the Camp’s duration. The campers had one week to organise themselves into teams around pivotal ideas. Out of 22 teams, who managed take their ideas to the prototype or business plan stage in almost four weeks, only 12 made it to the finals. Those were the teams that had a working prototype, customer audience analysis and a business model to demonstrate to the Camp’s evaluation committee:
SpeakingMind is a text-to-speech app, which reads social news feed for its user, while they are busy doing something else.
TaskCube a web-based project management service for medium and small IT businesses, which allows users to run their projects and monitor expenditures.
MediCard is a patient recruitment service, which allows medical specialists to shorten patient enrollment process, the most time-consuming part of clinical trials.
Bustourpro.ru is an ‘on-demand software’ service for bus tour operators in Russia and other countries.
PeopleAnalytics, which started off as a social media analytics service for human resources, is now a gift recommendation service based on information on people’s social networks.
3DPrintus is a 3D-printing and personalisation service, which allows users to implement their ideas in real objects.
FiveCards is an app that stores user’s discount cards on their smartphone.
Football Second Screen is an app that gives football fans an opportunity to view detailed information about each player, pass or goal in the game they are watching on their mobile devices.
CrowdTask is a crowdsourcing service for B2B content moderation.
Holibody.com is a personal diet, exercise and daily planning service for anyone who wants to stay in shape.
Podarka.net (Подарка.нет) is a mobile recommendation service for the last-minute gifts based on personal preferences and user’s budget.
Vokzal.com is a one-stop, global plane, train and bus ticket booking service.
During the Camp, participants were continually receiving support from their mentors – experts from Yandex and invited specialists, such as Michael Geer of Dream Industries, an experienced startup mentor and a Silicon Valley executive Marvin Liao, and Thibaut Rouffineau, VP Developer Partnerships at Wireless Industry Partnership. In addition to having personal consultants to help them on the way to the final stages of their projects, the campers were exposed to lectures and workshops delivered by Yandex experts and internationally acclaimed professionals in web development, marketing, design, project management, patent law, business administration, IT journalism and PR. Invited speakers included Colette Ballou, the founder and CEO of communications company Ballou PR, Christian Thaler-Wolski, head of Digital Media and Software at Wellington Partners, and the founder of and senior partner in investment firm Runa Capital, Serguei Beloussov.
‘I expected Tolstoy Summer Camp to be much like any other program in entrepreneurship and innovation management – lots of theory, lots of talk, a little argument, a little discussion and that’s it. The Camp surprised me pleasantly with its hands-on approach to project development. We had an excellent environment for our projects – a small and very powerful incubator for innovative ideas with an intensive supply of theoretical and methodological knowledge,’ says Roman Didych, co-founder of an innovative clinical trial recruitment service, MediCard. ‘Anyone with a seriously well-thought through idea could have greatly benefitted from this program.’
Demo Day on August 30 was attended by over a dozen venture investors, including Runa Capital, Almaz Capital, Bright Capital, Maxfield Capital, Quadriga Capital, Altair Capital, Prostor Capital, Russian Ventures, Vita Ventures. Yandex participated in the selection process on par with other investors. Three teams – SpeakingMind, FiveCards and Football Second Screen – managed to get us seriously interested. We are now considering the size and the form of investment to offer to these teams. Another Tolstoy Summer Camp project – MediCard – received a preliminary invitation to participate in Seedcamp Week in Berlin, an event of a European startup accelerator.
At the start of TSC we expected three to five strong startup teams with a solid background in technology and ideas and carefully crafted business models to emerge at the end of the program. We’ve got twelve, which is significantly more than we expected and we are thrilled with the result. So, chances are high we will repeat this success next year.
‘High Five’ to Winners of Yandex.Algorithm 2013
22 August, 2013
Winners in our annual international open championship in competitive programming, Yandex.Algorithm, today wiped the sweat off their high brows and took home their prizes.
Yandex.Algorithm is an individual contest, open to anybody who wishes to participate, regardless of education, profession or programming style. This year’s contest involved more than 3,000 competitors from 84 countries, who showed tough competition and great sportsmanship. The top 25 proceeding to the finals included developers from Google, VKontakte, Facebook and students from Saint Petersburg National Research University of Information Technologies, Mechanics and Optics, Moscow State University, and St. Petersburg State University. Many of the finalists were multiple award-winners and champions of the world’s premier team programming championship, ACM ICPC.
The Yandex.Algorithm championship had several stages. The finals took place in the regal interiors of the Vladimir Palace in St. Petersburg. Elimination rounds were held online, on the Yandex.Contest platform – a service created especially for programming education, training and competition. In each round, participants had to solve several algorithmic problems within 100 minutes.
A winner of ACM ICPC 2013, Gennady Korotkevich of Belarus with 3 solutions and -2 minutes of penalty time showed the best result and won the contest. First runner-up, Russia's Evgeny Kapun, also scored 3 points, but his six-minute penalty time put him behind the winner. Also three solutions secured third place for Shih Pi-Hsun from Taiwan, despite his penalty time of 44 minutes. All Yandex.Algorithm champions received cash prizes – 300,000 rubles (about $9,000) for first place, 150,000 rubles (about $4,500) for second and 90,000 (about $3,000) rubles for third.
(left to right: Evgeny Kapun, Gennady Korotkevich, Shih Pi-Hsun)
Specialists from Russia, Belarus, Japan and Poland created the problems to test Yandex.Algorithm competitors. As contest organisers, Yandex staff members were ineligible to compete, but took active part in preparing the championship. Developers from our Minsk office produced problems and tested them on their colleagues in other cities. TopCoder champion Egor Kulikov, of Yandex in St. Petersburg, personally solved every single problem. You can see them here (in Russian).
Yandex.Algorithm was created to support competitive programming in Russia and the CIS, aid the development of the IT industry, and boost ties between specialists from different countries. First held in 2011 within Yandex’s summer school, the championship has now entered a new, international level – in both the number and range of competitors, and in the complexity of problems.
We are happy for the winners and proud to contribute to the thriving programming community around the world.
Science with Passion: Yandex.Maps
5 August, 2013
Maps are such a natural way for a human mind to represent reality that most take them for granted without asking what it takes to make a map. Yandex.Maps is a continually evolving complex structure. Behind the most insignificant changes there is an enormous amount of research, and a great number of experiments. Andrey Karmatsky, the head of design for Yandex.Maps, is talking about his passion for visual representations of the Earth’s surface.
Why do I love maps?
Maps fascinate me with their beauty, behind which lies a lot of meaning – information that has been meticulously collected and structured.
Take, for example the Carta Marina by the Magnus brothers. It might appear to be nothing more than a beautiful illustration. In fact, it is a unique historical document containing a multitude of details and facts about Northern Europe in the 16th century. Only two copies of this map have been preserved to this day.
Today – centuries later – technology and algorithms allow cartographers to create incredible things.
Watercolor by Stamen Design.
Map tiles by Stamen Design. Data by OpenStreetMap
Some artists also like maps, and use them in their works, or paint pictures in the form of fictitious maps. Matthew Cusick created a series of works out of old American geography textbooks.
But a map is not just a picture. The correct presentation of information helps people to make important decisions. And whether they make the right decision depends a lot on how accurate and complete that information is.
Correctly presented cartographic data can save lives. This was well illustrated by the cholera epidemic in Soho in 1854, when London doctor John Snow spoke to local residents and marked cholera cases on a map.
After three days of observations and study of the map, he deduced that a public water pump on Broad Street was the source of infection. As a result, the decision was made to disable the pump – and the number of cholera cases fell sharply. A memorial to John Snow now stands at the site.
Such stories – in which a correct map helped people – are numerous.
Ilya Segalovich, 1964-2013
28 July, 2013
Ilya was officially declared brain dead at 1:30am on Thursday, July 25, 2013.
Brain death and respiratory failure are the modern technical indicators of death. Medical technologies these days allow hospitals to keep a body on life support for a few days to give family a chance to say goodbye. But this condition is irreversible. There are no cases of recovery after brain death.
Ilya's official medical condition was 'coma with no signs of brain activity'. From what has appeared in the media, it felt like some thought that he was in a vegetative state - a state, in which the brain is active, even though other, technically replaceable, organs have failed. A patient in a vegetative state can be maintained on life support for years. In the case of brain death, however, supporting a body longer than a few days is impossible.
The only hope that we had was error in diagnosis. We couldn't make a miracle happen, but we could give it a chance.
We lost all our hopes last night. Even a body as strong as Ilyusha's couldn't bear it. His blood started to develop changes incompatible with life. We had to let him go with dignity. His life support was turned off yesterday in the afternoon, his heart stopped.
Ilya was diagnosed with 'terminal metastatic gastric cancer' last September. He wasn't given any chances. Everyone was devastated. And then a miracle happened. He got a good doctor, his strong body responded well to chemotherapy. Ilya was literally brought back to life and spent the whole of this year up to the last week very actively, the metastasis was gone. Everyone saw this and wondered at the impossibility.
Last week a tumour was discovered in his head. On Tuesday and Wednesday, cancer spread to brain membranes. Malignant meningitis led to irreversible consequences - his brain brunt out in less than 24 hours.
Ilya's body will be brought from London to Moscow on Wednesday.
W3C Now Has a Yandex Engineer on its Technology Architecture Group
19 July, 2013
We are happy for our R&D engineer, Sergey Konstantinov, who has been elected a member of the World Wide Web Consortium Technical Architecture Group.
The TAG is a group created by W3C to document and build consensus around principles of Web architecture, resolve issues involving general Web architecture and help coordinate cross-technology architecture developments inside and outside W3C. The Group is chaired by the Web's inventor, Tim Berners-Lee, with three appointees and five people elected by the Members of the World Wide Web Consortium for two-year terms.
Sergey is the first Russian member of the TAG. In his role, he will work to bring his experience as a developer and someone working with other developers at Yandex to the TAG, to make sure the Group’s work makes sense in the real-life context of hands-on developers.
As the only member of the TAG working primarily in a language other than English, Sergey will help ensure that the TAG's work is available and relevant beyond the English-speaking community, to the hundreds of millions whose work is conducted in another language.
Now that Sergey is a W3C’s TAG member, we expect that the interests and needs of Russian developers are better represented across the work of W3C.
Yandex joined W3C in 2012, as the first full member from Russia. With our employees contributing to W3C’s working groups, serving on its Advisory Board, and now also participating in its Technical Architecture Group, we are proud to be involved in the development of the Web, leading it to its full potential. Affiliation with W3C is part of fulfilling our responsibilities to the Web and its users as a leading internet company, as well as a reflection of our own place within the Web.
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