Russia is one of the few places where Google isn’t the most dominant force when it comes to search engines. There Google ‘only’ has 26,5%, where local search engine Yandex takes about 60 percent of the search market.
Google however might be winning a small part of this market share with a change which has been made right away: Firefox is replacing Yandex with Google as their default search engine in their Russian version of the browser.
The change is a bit surprising since it is changed starting June 1st, where the commercial agreement between Mozilla and Yandex doesn’t end before December 2012. Even though the browser setting is not part of the agreement, it seems like a drastic move but is probably part of the global agreement Google and Firefox made recently.
So does this mean Yandex will be losing a lot of market share to Google in Russia? Well no, it won’t go that fast. Yandex itself thinks the losses will be very minor, both the revenue losses as well as the market share.
A Yandex spokesman told The Next Web:
“Default search in a browser is not the only or the key factor that defines a share in the search market. As before, we will keep making our services better, improving their functionality, design, efficiency and comprehensiveness – as it is our firm belief that no matter what service the browser is equipped with, it will be used only if it satisfies users’ demands.
Yandex’s search share in Google Chrome that has more complicated settings for changing the default search than Firefox, is bigger that Google’s, which is the default search engine in this browser.
A default search engine, however, does matter for beginner internet users or for those who still are not sure what search engine they prefer. That is why we will keep offering to visitors on our websites an option to choose Yandex as a default search engine in their browser – this is an easy way to use Yandex without typing the address for those who have been using it anyway.”
On top of that Yandex announced it will continue to offer the Russians a customized version of Firefox, which has Yandex as the default search engine.
Meanwhile Yandex keeps expanding outside of Russia, going towards the South of Europe and Asia. After launching their search engine in Turkey last year they are not yet gaining much market share there and have now launched Yandex.Maps for Turkey. Maps usually gets Yandex ‘on the map’ in countries and helps increase the market shares. Yandex CTO, Ilya Segalovich even said he was aiming for 20 to 30 percent market share in Turkey.
See below an interview of the Wall Street Journal with Segalovich