Facebook has cut a deal with Yandex granting full access of its public data to Russia’s biggest search engine. Yandex, which is widely used in Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Belarus and Turkey, poses a significant competition to search engine giant Google. With more than $ 20 billion in revenue, the company also offers a browser, cloud storage facility (similar to dropbox) to about 50 million users. It has a market share of 60% in Russia.
Facebook has been eyeing the untapped Russian and Chinese markets for some time now and this partnership will help it garner more users from Russia. Reportedly, this deal can be visualized as free advertising on Russia’s Google. Two social networking sites, VKontakte and Odnoklassniki, are more popular than Facebook in Russia.
Yandex already has data access from Twitter, VKontakte and Live Journal. This partnership will help Yandex refine its results from social conversations obtained from Facebook. However, private posts in Facebook will remain off limits. Another search engine that uses Facebook data is Microsoft’s Bing.
According to a popular tech blog, the other side of this partnership is a big data play. Yandex can use this publicly available data and incorporate it in its search algorithm to improve search results.
Privacy issues with Facebook
Privacy on social media has always been a concern and this has been an issue with Facebook at regular intervals. Having been sued a lot of times over privacy, we hope this partnership does not fall prey to lawsuits.
Third party customers use Facebook to track their users’ activities. These customers should utilize data carefully and be aware of the risks involved. We recently heard Facebook was being sued over scanning of inter-personal messages and using conversation data for advertising.