Yandex's Annual International Programming Contest Invites Participants to Compete in Solving Algorithmic Problems
22 April, 2014
Yandex.Algorithm 2014 will have its final round on the 1st of August on the premises of Yandex's newly opened Berlin office. In addition to showing their skills in competitive programming, those reaching the final round of the contest will have an opportunity to socialise and browse the city's famous attractions during the three days of the finals.
Last year's event gathered more than three thousand participants from 84 countries, including 16 programmers from Germany, six Swiss nationals and two Austrians. One of the German contestants qualified 20th in the final round, which was held in one of St. Petersburg's most magnificent palaces and saw a Belarusian win the competition, with a Russian national scoring second and a student from Taiwan finishing in the third place.
The Yandex.Algorithm contest is open to everyone regardless of their educational background, location or occupation. The official language of the competition is English. The total prize fund for this competition is 540,000 roubles (about €10,800), with the major portion – 300,000 roubles (about €6,000) – going to the winner. The second and third places will give their winners 150,000 roubles (about €3,000) and 90,000 roubles (€1,800) respectively.
The programming championship will consist of six rounds that will last 100 minutes each. The warm-up round will take place on May 16. Registered contestants will need to solve at least one problem to participate in the qualifying round, which will be held one week after that – on May 25. The three championship rounds will be held online from July 1 to July 15 and will determine 25 top performers who will compete in the finals in Berlin on August 1.
Tasks in the Yandex.Algorithm contest are provided by the Yandex experts, who, according to the rules of the contest, cannot compete, but can contribute to the contest as part of the international organising team, which includes experienced experts from Russia, Poland and the United States.
In contrast to other programming competitions, Yandex.Algorithm allows contestants to choose when and how their solutions are evaluated – individually and right after submission, or in total and only when all of the solutions have been submitted. The first option gives additional points to each solution, although it also removes an opportunity to correct a solution before submitting. This arrangement gives contestants more flexibility in their competitive strategy and a better chance to win.
Arctic Virtual Tour Images Appear on Yandex.Maps
18 April, 2014
Panoramic images of Franz Joseph Land, an uninhabited, but historically attractive archipelago in the Arctic Ocean, have been added to Yandex.Maps. Following the steps of the great Arctic explorers of the past, including the pioneer discoverers, Julius von Payer and Karl Weyprecht of Austro-Hungarian North Pole Expedition, who gave name to the islands, as well as Fridtjof Nansen and Frederick George Jackson, among others, web users can now witness the bare beauty of the extreme geography and weather without leaving the comfort of their armchair.
The images were brought to Yandex.Maps by our content provider, neq4, who was lucky enough to join the National Geographic – Russian Geographical Society expedition to Franz Joseph Land as part of their Pristine Seas project.
Now all Yandex.Maps users can share, albeit virtually, the experience of frozen waterfalls and mossy Arctic rocks, see the memorial landmark cross for Georgy Sedov and his expedition on Hooker Island, ‘stand’ on the edge of the northernmost point of the Eurasian continent, and even find a proof that postal service is still the ultimate outpost of civilization.
The expedition took 42 days and gave us 255 panoramic images of the Arctic region made of 1,020 snapshots taken on eleven of a group of 191 islands comprising the Franz Joseph Land archipelago.
To offer web users an opportunity to virtually move around a location, Yandex.Maps creates interactive panoramic street views using high-resolution cameras attached to a GPS-equipped car. In areas that are closed to motor vehicles, cameras are attached to a bicycle or carried by hand. Read more about how panoramic virtual tours on Yandex.Maps are created in Products and Technologies.
Nokia’s Android Phones Come to Russia Fitted with Yandex Apps
27 March, 2014
Nokia’s Android smartphone, Nokia X, announced at the recent Mobile World Congress, comes to the Russian and Belarusian markets equipped with the essential search functionality provided by Yandex. The Finnish company’s first in the X-series of phones premieres today on these markets with the Yandex.Search app already preinstalled and the Yandex search engine as a built-in search provider in the phone’s browser.
Buyers of Nokia’s new product in these countries will be able to funnel mobile apps for all their needs through our alternative Android app store, Yandex.Store, which is now featured in Nokia Store. Nokia’s range of Yandex-enhanced Nokia X smartphones will continue with Nokia X+ and XL with Yandex as a default search provider and Yandex.Store preinstalled.
Nokia’s smartphones have always been popular in Russia and the CIS, not in the least, because of the company’s ability to cater for the specific needs of their customers in each of the markets. It’s only natural for Yandex, who always placed a top priority on relevance of service to a specific user in a specific location, and Nokia to join efforts to make sure the user experience of their customers is locally-relevant, smooth and seamless, even when they go from desktop to mobile, or from one mobile device or OS to another. Nokia’s decision to choose Yandex’s products for their new phones in Russia and Belarus ensures comfortable user experience for their customers in each of these countries, who already know Yandex and its products very well.
We’ve been partnering with Nokia since 2011, when Yandex became a default search provider on Nokia’s Lumia 800 and Lumia 710 distributed in Russia. We’re now happy to have rekindled our old relationship through our support of the alternative Android ecosystem. The love of freedom of choice is what brings Yandex and Nokia together in this partnership.
Yandex Acquires Israeli Developer of Smart Geo-Location Technology – KitLocate
18 March, 2014
Always on the lookout for top talent and breakthrough technology, Yandex has long been eyeing Israel’s Silicon Valley – Silicon Wadi. And now we are happy to report that the award-winning startup,KitLocate, the developer of a smart, energy-efficient cloud location technology for mobile devices, together with its brilliant team of eight, is joining our mobile search team.
KitLocate’s technology, packed into a developer-friendly SDK, provides location capabilities, including geo-fencing, motion detection and social location, for location-based apps on the user’s iOS or Android smartphone. The trick is, while doing that it lowers battery power consumption down to less than 1% per hour. KitLocate's algorithms allow location-based apps to request the device's geographic coordinates less frequently without losing precision, which considerably extends the phone's life between charges.
The Israeli team’s technology has already been successfully implemented in a mobile app, which helps drivers to find available parking spaces in their immediate vicinity. Popular in Israel financial service, Isracard, uses KitLocate’s technology to deliver its offers to users’ phones based on their current location.
Those of Yandex’s mobile products that don’t need continuous GPS synching, such as our location-based search, cannot wait to be augmented by KitLocate’s smart solution. With KitLocate’s technology, we’ll be able to deliver search results, as well as product or service offers, on the user’s mobile phone or tablet, relevant not only to a specific user, but also to their current location. This cloud solution looks especially promising for location-based recommendation apps.
Yandex’s previous experience working with a startup from Israel was investment in a facial recognition technology developer, Face.com, which was later acquired by Facebook. After joining Yandex, KitLocate’s brilliant team, also based in Tel Aviv, is very likely to soon be growing both in size and scale of expertise. Their solution will continue to be available for implementation in other location-based apps that don’t require continuous geo-tracking.
Yandex Partners with Google to Change Russia's Display Ad Market
25 February, 2014
The global advertising market has been experiencing some serious technology-driven transformation for the past few years. The common trend is the growing popularity of automated web-based services offering media buying and data management capabilities on the demand side and best-value selling opportunities on the supply side. All packed in a convenient, user-friendly interface with comprehensive statistics reporting tools.
Yandex launched its own Real-Time Bidding system for auctioning ad impressions to advertising systems in March 2012. Yandex.Direct and myThings were pioneer participants in the auction, which were later joined by Tinkoff Digital, the developer of Russia’s first RTB platform, and LaModa, one of the most popular fashion e-retailers in Russia.
In line with the current industry trend, companies develop their own Demand-Side Platforms, often powered by the real-time bidding technology, to mediate ad marketing between buyers and sellers, and sharing participants for mutual benefit.
We’re now happy to announce our partnership with Google, which will facilitate global networking and open competition in digital marketing. Through Google’s subsidiary DoubleClick, the company’s advertising clients will now have access to one of Russia’s largest advertising inventories offered by publishers in Yandex’s Advertising Network, while the advertising clients of Yandex will be able to bid for ad displays in the global inventory of DoubleClick AdExchange partners. Both systems are powered by the real-time-bidding technology, which allows advertisers and publishers to maximise their advertising revenues and cut costs through efficient audience targeting and automated, algorithm-based bidding.
Having already signed the bilateral partnership agreement, we're now at the technical stage of implementing this project. First and foremost, this agreement is expected to dramatically increase advertising inventory available to the clients of both companies whose respective advertising pools in the CIS countries don't overlap much. And, of course, pouring a new batch of feed into the fish-tank gives a new kick to competition and boosts the quality of advertising space – the better is the inventory, the more desirable it is for buyers, the higher bids it generates in a real-time bidding auction.
The RTB-based advertising market on the whole benefits from a larger number of bidders and sellers, each with their own targeting goals and display opportunities. The more conditions the system takes into account when matching ads to publishers, the more fine-tuned the ad targeting is and the better optimised the bids are. Accessibility of Yandex’s inventories for Google’s advertising clients, and Google’s inventories for Yandex’s advertisers, supports the idea of and the principle behind real-time bidding – each auction participant has an equal chance to reach their goal.
Android Device Manufacturers Get Kitted Out with Yandex.Kit
19 February, 2014
For the majority of small or medium-sized Android device manufacturers, using the popular Linux-based mobile operating system, which is famously free to install, modify and distribute, is like being given a car without the key. It's nice and all but how do you drive it?
There isn’t much use of a free operating system if you cannot offer your customers all the basic features mobile users now take for granted. The Android mobile OS is free, but all the defining features of a mobile experience – app store, browser, email and maps – are all available under special, case-by-case agreements.
Freedom of choice. We love it. We have been developing products and services to enjoy this freedom and share it with all internet users since 1997. With the explosive evolution in mobile industry, our key desktop products followed their consumers and migrated to smartphones and tablets
Yandex.Maps, Yandex.Mail and our search service were the first to appear on the world's most popular Android platform, followed by the stellar user interface solution UI Shell 3D, which is now known as Yandex.Shell. Last year, our application store for Android, Yandex.Store, Yandex.Browser and a cloud storage app, Yandex.Disk, joined the range of our Android solutions.
While we primarily were working on covering all the bases for our users on Android devices, what we've got in the end was a full-fledged Android 'ecosystem'. A comprehensive, out-of-the-box solution, versatile and technologically honed enough to be offered to original device manufacturers as firmware that they can install on their devices shipped to the Russian market. This is the key to the car they were given for free and now they can drive it.
Yandex.Kit is a customisable suite of mobile components available for most versions of Android OS. It has all the basics indispensable for the up-to-date mobile experience. Vendors selling their original Android devices in Russia can enjoy the full Yandex.Kit package, which currently includes an app store, launcher and dialer, browser, maps, a cloud app - 15 apps overall. OEMs targeting other markets can enjoy Yandex.Kit as a trio of Yandex products – Yandex.Shell UI, Yandex.Browser and Yandex.Store.
And the best part is there are no fees. Yandex.Kit is distributed on a fee-free basis and performs well on virtually any hardware, including the not-so-powerful devices popular in Russia and the CIS. In addition, smartphones carrying Yandex.Kit can be easily branded under the manufacturer's name. In Russia, the manufacturer can choose to market their device with the Yandex logo, to piggyback on the existing customer affinity for one of the most recognisable and strong brands in this country.
Huawei and Explay, the early adopters of alternative Android software, will show their devices with Yandex.Kit on board at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in just four days. Their phones will be available to customers in Russia in March.
Reasons to love Yandex.Kit:
One-stop authorisation gives the user an opportunity to have access to all Yandex apps after entering their name and password only once – when they are setting up their phone.
Instant contact syncing instantly imports the user’s contacts from their Google Account to their Yandex account.
Smart dialer uses information from Yandex's Business Directory to identify the caller's number even if they aren’t one of the user's contacts.
Android app store, Yandex.Store, gives the user access to the inventory of over 100,000 apps, including most popular, such as Twitter, Facebook, Skype, Cut The Rope and others. Users of Yandex.Store in the Yandex.Kit package also receive a 10% rebate from every app purchase to their 'rebate account', which can be used for purchasing more apps. The classical 70/30 revenue share scheme, when the revenue from app sales is shared between the app developer and the store, also includes the manufacturer or provider of the device that carries Yandex.Kit.
Other reasons to love Yandex.Kit:
Yandex's cloud service, Yandex.Disk, is available for running on original devices as part of the package with Yandex.Store, Yandex.Browser and Yandex.Shell. The map library, featuring a worldwide map and detailed maps for the largest US and European cities, compatible with any geolocation app via a mapping API, is available with Yandex.Store or as part of the full package.
OEMs and mobile providers can discover more business opportunities at our stand E33, Hall 5 at Mobile World Congress in Fira Barcelona Gran Via, on February, 24-27.
¡Nos vemos pronto!
6 February, 2014
We are setting up camp at yet another location. This time, in Berlin, Germany. This is our 16th office globally and our third office in Europe.
Unlike our Lucerne office, which steers our European sales, and much like our team in Zurich, who develop, among other things, a speech recognition technology, our people in Berlin will concentrate on research and development. By the end of this year, we’re expecting the airy office space in Karl-Liebknecht-Straße, with enough room for up to 130 people, to fill with 30-40 workstations, occupied by top-class software engineers and user interface designers. At this stage, they will work on the global version of our well-loved Yandex.Maps service, with other tasks and projects being added in the future. You can take a look at our current job openings in Berlin right now.
Berlin wasn’t hard to choose. It has everything an exponentially developing IT company can wish for – a thriving high-tech industry, an attractive business environment, an impressive academic scene and a lively startup community. With its central geographic location, the capital city of Germany has become a major European hub for the IT industry, hosting a number of key events and conferences. It is also well positioned for talent scouting all over Europe.
Berlin is a perfect place to meet new people, exchange ideas, share experiences, learn about new approaches to old problems and discover new talent. In addition to all of the above, it’s just nice to live and work in, and Moscow (as well as many other great European destinations) is only a short flight away.
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