Following the success of Chinese internet giants Baidu, who fended off the challenge from Google by rolling out a variety of its own products, including web browsers, mobile browsers, maps and cloud storage, Russian search engine kings Yandex have their sights set on a very similar goal.
Yandex, who already commands 60% of search in Russia, has just opened up two new fronts in its war on Google, offering a new internet browser that mixes elements of both Chrome and Opera, and an alternative to the Google Play store.
Even more painful for Google is that Yandex’s new products are remarkably similar to their American-made counterparts. The Russians previously dabbled with Google’s technology when it rolled out a customized iteration of Google Chrome developed using the Chromium open source project. Now however, it’s come up with something entirely different, combining Chrome’s interface and WebKit engine with Opera’s Turbo technology, which compresses webpages to load them faster on slow internet connections.
Yandex.Browser packs plenty of other features too, including the best of Yandex’s existing tools, plus Kaspersky Lab’s safe-browsing technology, and machine-automated translation software.
Alongside the browser release, Yandex has also opened up its own Android app store, the Yandex.Store, which bills itself as the new ‘alternative’ to Google Play and already contains more than 38,000 apps ready to download.
Like the browser, Yandex.Store looks awfully similar to Google’s Play Store (one can only imagine the fuss Apple would make if it was that similar to iTunes…). Yandex said that its new marketplace will be on offer to both operators and manufacturers of mobile devices, as part of a package that incorporates the full suite of Yandex services, including maps, cloud storage and more.
It remains to be seen if Yandex’s audacious bid to wrest control of its home market will pay off, as Google already has a significant advantage, controlling 32% of the browser market, but even if they don’t, one gets the feeling that Google certainly won’t be too happy about the way they’re going about things. Good luck trying to sue them in Russia!