Yandex, the Russian search engine giant, announced a new social networking search program.
The announcement doesn't mention Twitter specifically, but Search Engine Land is reporting that the search engine has made a deal with Twitter to gain access to the Twitter Firehose. Little has been said about how Yandex will actually used this, but reporter Greg Sterling says, Yandex "has discretion over what it uses and how that content is ranked and displayed."
You may recall that last year, Google's deal with Twitter for that same access expired, and the two companies failed to reach an agreement to extend it. This led to the disappearance of Google's Realtime Search feature, making Google less useful for some searches.
Bing has access to Twitter (and Facebook), and some have expressed intent to actually switch search engines over the whole thing. Could Yandex become a more significant global competitor with some more expansion? Beyond Russia, Yandex has sites in Turkey, Belarus, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan.
Yandex's new offerings include the roll out of a beta version of a "people finder" for its Russian site. Users can view all public profiles of a person with accounts on sites like VKontakte, Facebook, LiveJournal, and Odnoklassniki (popular services in that country).
"It is so much more convenient to see multiple profiles of the same person grouped together," says Yandex Product Manager Alexander Chubinskiy. "Yandex does this grouping with care -- only those profiles that refer to one another get grouped. Web users can choose if they want their profiles on different websites to appear in search results separately, or as grouped together. So, if one of your personal profiles refers to others, the icons of those websites on which they are hosted will appear on the same thumbnail. Conversely, the user can remove cross-reference from their personal pages so that each of the profiles appears in Yandex's search results independently."
Yandex claims about 61% of Russia's search market share and 45 million monthly visitors to its Russian search engine.
The company says it processes over two million people searches daily. About half of them, it says, are to find information about celebrities, while the other half ask about someone's friend, a contact, an employee or a partner.