Yandex Launches Social Search App Wonder Aimed At US

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Update: Facebook has pulled data from Wonder. More here.

Russian search engine company Yandex has launched a new social search app for the iPhone and iPod Touch for people in the U.S. It's called Wonder, and taps into Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Foursquare, iTunes, and to provide answers to questions based on data from your friends, as well as location and music info and options (such as previewing and purchasing songs).

Take a look:

Wonder by Yandex Labs from Yandex Labs on Vimeo.

The app uses natural language voice search first and foremost, but includes a keyboard input option. Right now, it only works in English and understands a few types of questions pertaining to places, music and news. It utilizes speech recognition and text-to-speech technology from Nuance Communications. Here are some examples Yandex provides for the types of questions it works for:

- If you are looking for a proven sushi place in New York, you can just ask: what sushi restaurants do my friends go to in New York?

- When you are looking for coffee shops in a new area, you can ask: coffee shops nearby.

- If you need to catch up with your friends on a Friday night, just ask: where do my friends party?

- You know your friend John has a good taste for music, ask: what music does John listen to?

- Feel like listening to electronic music, ask: I wonder what electronic music are my friends listening to?

- Want to catch up on news, ask: news shared by my friends.

Wonder's launch comes at an interesting time, amidst a slow roll-out of Facebook's own attempt at social search. Of course this is a mobile app, and Facebook's launch does not include mobile (though that will come in time). It's unclear whether or not Yandex intends to release Wonder on Android.

Chris Crum
Chris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.

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