Yandex now offers search refiners to help web users achieve their search goals. The new functionality appears right below Yandex’s search bar in response to unspecified queries, helping users to instantly refine their searches. Those searching for “blueberry”, for instance, could be looking for blueberry recipes, or possibly be interested in learning
about the health benefits or nutritional value of blueberries. Now, they can see at a click exactly what they are looking for.
Unspecified queries currently represent about 20% of all searches on Yandex. In response to these unspecified queries, Yandex’s search engine now offers options for users to choose from. Users looking for “Charlie Chaplin”, for instance, will have to click on one of the search refining options suggested by Yandex: bio, photo, video, film or quote.
Search refiners are powered by Yandex’s proprietary technology, Spectrum, launched in December 2010. This technology enables Yandex’s search engine to determine users’ possible search goals and offer results specific to each of these goals. Spectrum includes into search results links to web documents belonging to different user intent categories based on how popular these categories are. Search refiners appearing on Yandex Search is another step in Spectrum’s development.
“Any search system needs to know what it is exactly that the user is looking for and help them find it,” says Elena Gruntova, head of the Intent-based Search Program at Yandex. “This is what Yandex has been doing for the past fifteen years, starting with the word-form sensitive search engine and continuing with vertical search results from our own
services in 2000. The launch of search refiners is yet another milestone on this road.”
Intent-based search engine understanding users’ needs and helping them to attain their goals is one of Yandex’s key priorities in 2012. Yandex intends to launch other products as part of its Intent-based Search Program in the near future.