Last week I’ve attended the greatest event of mobile industry – Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Of course, I took the opportunity to pass by Yandex stand and ask some questions about mobile plans for 2014.
I had a very nice chat Vladimir from Yandex team, who told me about Yandex.Kit, Yandex.Store and other mobile products that have been launched tin the past few months.
What is Yandex.Kit and who is it for?
Yandex.Kit is a firmware for Android devices that offers a package of Yandex services and creates Android experience “without Google”.
The product is targeted towards smartphone manufacturers and mobile operators.
There are two different strategies for Yandex.Kit:
In Russia using Yandex products creates a better user experience. Yandex.Kit for Russia has 15 apps in it (Yandex.Store, Yandex.Maps, of course Search, and other popular apps) out of 30 apps that Yandex has in its portfolio.
In the rest of the world Yandex.Kit will be available with 3 main components: Yandex.Browser, Yandex.Store and Yandex.Shell. The benefit for manufacturers and operators is that Yandex.Store can be branded by them and used, for example, to promote their own apps.
How is Yandex.Store doing and what are the future plans for it?
Yandex.Store is doing well. It has over 100 000 apps in it today, and the number keeps growing.
The mail obstacle for growth for alternative app stores (there are about 30 of them today) is that app developers need to upload and then maintain their apps separately in each of them. To solve this problem and make the process easier, Yandex together with Opera and a several other players joined into an initiative called “One Platform Foundation”. It allows app developers to wrap their app file once using universal format – AppDF – to submit in multiple app stores. In-app payments are also standardized, so there is no need to adjust the app for each app store separately.
Are there any other plans for mobile in 2014?
Yandex.Kit is a product that aims to strengthen Yandex’s position in mobile search, primarily in Android. Yandex is one of the search engine alternatives in iOS 7, in Windows Phone in Russia Yandex is the search engine by default. Android is the only mobile OS that does not allow changing search provider.
Today Yandex has 53% market share in terms of search on Android devices in Russia. This is quite high considering the fact that Yandex is not present in Android in any way. People like Yandex services, so they install the search app or type Yandex.ru in their mobile browsers. With Yandex.Kit this number can be improved even further.
Any other plans? New ad formats perhaps?
Maybe, says Vladimir and smiles. 10-11% of all advertising revenues come from mobile today, so there is a possibility. We don’t like to talk about plans, as plans change, adds he and smiles again.
Last question the answer to which we all want to know. When is Yandex going to launch the Islands?
The answer I got was “Soon, very soon”.
The technology powering Yandex.Islands is ready, and at the moment Yandex is working on recommendations for webmasters. Webmasters should and will have good guidelines that explain the rules, and also guide them towards achieving better results, engagement and conversion.