Yandex Blog

Yandex.Cloud and NAVER Business Platform Team Up on Cloud Services in Russia and South Korea

Today companies rely on cloud platforms to deliver their services around the world. For global companies, cloud platforms prove especially useful in navigating the challenges of launching in new countries.  We introduced Yandex.Cloud, our intelligent public cloud platform, to offer reliable solutions to local and international companies operating in the Russian market. 

We are thrilled to announce that we are building on that to offer even more opportunities for our customers.  Yandex.Cloud is teaming up with the NAVER Business Platform (NBP) to provide, develop, and promote cloud services in Russia and South Korea.  NBP is a global enterprise providing infrastructure, security, information processing, and cloud services from NAVER, one of South Korea’s leading tech companies. 

Together our services will help software companies and developers seamlessly expand into the Russian and South Korean markets. The partnership will enable NBP customers to quickly deploy their services in Russia on the Yandex.Cloud. Similarly, companies using Yandex.Cloud will be able to easily launch their digital products in South Korea on the NAVER Business Platform.  Customers who use the service will be fully compliant with local data storage regulations and have access to flexible customer service. Companies can get support directly from their "home" platform; Yandex.Cloud in Russia and NBP in South Korea.  

As part of the joint effort, Yandex.Cloud and NAVER Business Platform plan to also collaborate on data storage and data management technologies (including Yandex's proprietary database management system), internet security services, and online infrastructure technologies.

Companies can get started today by contacting customer support of the respective platforms. To learn more about Yandex.Cloud offerings, visit our website today!

Our new initiative to train 500,000 teachers and 100,000 data specialists

We've always been passionate about education. It's critical for the world's leading tech companies, including Yandex, to create more opportunities for people to learn and grow. We have a central role to play in teaching people the skills they need for the jobs of tomorrow. We have over a decade of experience creating academic initiatives that provide the necessary training for the most in demand careers.

We're excited to announce a new initiative to further advance our efforts to provide IT education and training to as many people as possible. Over the next three years, we will spend 5 billion rubles ($78 million) to dramatically expand our education programs in Russia. We plan to train 500,000 teachers and 100,000 IT specialists by 2022, and ultimately support almost every other teacher in Russia through our education programs. The 2022 graduates will join over 1 million people who have studied through our education projects across 85 regions in Russia.

Yandex students working on a project

"Dedicated, passionate teachers taught most of us at Yandex," says Elena Bunina, Director of HR and Educational Programs for Yandex. "This education initiative is an opportunity for us to give back to these educators and the rest of Russia's academic system. In today's world, what matters most is not data and algorithms, but the people who build them - their knowledge, experience, and unique ideas. Through our education programs, we want to give people the tools they need to build the companies and technologies of tomorrow."

To reach these goals, all of our education programs and partners will benefit from increased resources. Partnerships have been a critical part of our education platforms, and they will continue to serve a central role in the new, three-year initiative. We plan to work even more closely with academic institutions like schools and universities to achieve our goal of training hundreds of thousands of teachers and learners. Teachers will benefit from more resources and training, and learners of all ages will have greater access to our programs.

Increased support for primary school teachers and students

Teachers play a central role in education, and we're always eager to support them with the resources to build a productive learning environment. Yandex.Textbook is a central part of how we do this. Started in 2018, Yandex.Textbook is our main platform for supporting primary school students and educators in Russia. Currently, over 50,000 teachers use Yandex.Textbook as an online learning supplement for their 1st through 4th grade students in math and Russian language. Through the free platform, teachers can assign tasks, prepare lessons, and check homework. With Yandex.Textbook, we help make school more fun for students, while providing teachers with an intuitive resource that keeps their students engaged with the lesson.

As part of this new education initiative, we will dramatically increase the reach of Yandex.Textbook. Over the next three years, we plan to increase the material available through Yandex.Textbook tenfold. Whereas now lessons are available in math and Russian, soon teachers will be able to offer engaging activities in natural science, foreign languages, and computer science. We will also extend the reach of Yandex.Textbook through senior year, so students in all stages of grammar school can use Yandex.Textbook.

The planned expansion of Yandex.Textbook will help us reach a much greater number of primary and secondary students in Russia, as well as support more teachers in creating engaging lesson plans.

Expanding Yandex.Textbook is just one of the ways we're helping support teachers in our new education initiative. Working with higher education institutions, we will also provide training for up to 500,000 teachers and teaching students as part of a new program called "I am a Teacher." Through "I am a Teacher," educators will learn how to use new technologies and teaching software that help create an interactive learning environment. The initiative to train half a million teachers through higher education centres is an exciting new step in our academic partnerships.

Train 100,000 IT specialists

With our support of primary school teachers, we're helping create learning environments across Russia that prepare students for data science studies. Starting from the secondary school years and continuing into adulthood, Yandex offers several ways for learners to study computer science. Our programs help people build their data skills at every stage of their professional career.

This new education initiative will include expanding the scale of our current programs. By 2022, we ultimately plan to train 100,000 new IT specialists in Russia of every age, including:

  • 30,000 students through our free network of Yandex.Lyceum sites, which teach 8th and 9th graders beginner programming skills.
  • 20,000 students from our programs with higher education institutions, such as the Faculty of Computer Science we co-founded at Moscow's Higher School of Economics.
  • 50,000 learners via Yandex.Practicum, our online continuing education program for people looking to reorient their career to data science. Launched earlier this year, Yandex.Practicum is one of our newest programs and we're excited to help it grow as part of this new initiative. We also plan to launch Yandex.Practicum for those outside Russia as part of our goal to reach as many learners as possible.

One of our first education programs, the Yandex School of Data Analysis (YSDA), will also benefit from this three-year education initiative. YSDA is our free Masters-level program in machine learning and data science. By 2022, YSDA will train over 600 more experts in areas such as computer vision and natural language processing. They will join over 700 data scientists who have graduated from YSDA since we established the program in 2007. YSDA will receive new resources that include research laboratories established at partner universities, as well as the means to stage scientific conferences to promote an exchange of learning. We also hope to partner with more foreign institutions and organizations to open new YSDA branches, similar to our program at Tel Aviv University in Israel.

This three-year initiative will ultimately help us train a new generation of data scientists. Through our education platforms, people will be better prepared for the most in demand careers by having the skills they need for the jobs of tomorrow. Our graduates will also continue to help advance the fields of data science and machine learning by applying their skills and expertise at institutions and private organizations around the world.

Stayed tuned for more updates on the ways we're taking our education programs to new heights!

Creating Academic Opportunities for Global Learners

As one of Europe's largest tech companies, we believe we have a responsibility to create learning opportunities for the current and future generations of data scientists.  As many industries continue to enhance their businesses with AI and data science, it's critical to teach students the skills they need for the jobs of tomorrow.  While we began our education initiatives in our core market of Russia, our education goals are part of a broader global learning environment.  We're committed to steps that reflect the needs of learners around the world and extend the reach of our academic programs to as many individuals as possible. 

Successful education is rooted in the exchange of knowledge - sharing expertise and learning of experts from different parts of the world.  Today we are expanding our global efforts in multiple ways and continuing to engage education professionals from around the world to enhance both our programs and others’.

Adapting to Local Learning Environments

The Yandex team members who founded our Yandex School of Data Analysis headed to Israel in 2018 to establish a program suited for local learners.  Through collaboration with local experts, we created Y-DATA at Tel Aviv University, a one-year career advancement program meant to bridge the gap between online courses and a full-time Master of Science program.  YSDA personnel designed the Y-DATA curriculum to precisely reflect the needs of the data science community in Israel.  Y-DATA provides fundamental skills for data science careers but also uniquely offers engaging hands-on projects with local companies. 

Our team in Israel has continued to take steps to integrate Y-DATA into the local data science community and boost the exchange of knowledge.  For example, the Y-DATA team hosts regular meet-ups in Tel Aviv that are open to anyone interested in learning more about machine learning and data analysis.

Offering Programs for Global learners by Global Experts

We welcome international experts to contribute to our programs for learners both in Russia and elsewhere in the world.  By welcoming experts from different institutions and education systems, we drive more diverse learning opportunities for students. 

One example is the Machine Learning in High Energy Physics summer school.  Each year since 2015, we've helped organize a ten-day machine learning summer program.  Working with one of our academic partners in Moscow, the Higher School of Economics, we annually stage the school at a different European host and welcome experts from around the world to teach.  This year, the DESY research center in Hamburg, Germany, hosted 71 postgraduates and postdoctoral researchers from 17 countries.  MLHEP is an excellent way for us to engage with global learners interested in machine learning, as well as academic institutions across Europe.

Students from the 2018 MLHEP at St. Anne's College, University of Oxford

Similarly, we invite experts from around the world to teach at our Natural Language Processing (NLP) Week that we host at Yandex headquarters.  This past year we welcomed two international data scientists to NLP Week.  Wilker Aziz of the Institute for Logic, Language and Computation at the University of Amsterdam taught courses on latent variable models, deep generative models, and advanced topics; Mirella Lapata of the School of Informatics at the University of Edinburgh taught semantic parsing.

Establishing Online Courses for Learners Everywhere 

We believe it's critical to make education opportunities as accessible as possible.  By partnering with Coursera, the leading online education provider, we bring data science tools to an even larger audience, unhindered by physical location.  We host several online specializations on Coursera in English, which are open to anyone around the world interested in data science. 

In April, we attended the Coursera Partners Conference to engage other academic partners.  We shared more about our experience leading the way with collaboration between industry and academia.  Through in-depth cooperation with academia, we can help define the skills today’s learners need for the jobs of tomorrow.  We were also honored to accept an award from Coursera for our Advanced Machine Learning specialization.

Engaging in Open Dialogues with International Representatives 

Besides bringing our programs to an international audience and adapting them to local learners, we also share our expertise and engage in cross-cultural dialogue.  By meeting with representatives who have a similar passion for education, we can share our knowledge and learn how other education leaders are shaping their tech programs.  Russia has traditionally excelled in STEM, and we are always eager to share our current work and vision for the future in this area. 

As part of our efforts to engage with the global education community, we recently welcomed Shamma Al Mazrui, the Minister of State for Youth Affairs for the United Arab Emirates, to our Yandex office.  Our academic team spoke with Al Mazrui about our shared interest in expanding access to data science education.  Al Mazrui discussed the various education projects of the UAE, and we presented information on Yandex's academic programs.  Our team shared how the Yandex.Textbook service provides elementary school teachers with interactive assignments.  For older learners, Al Mazrui learned how Yandex.Practicum provides tools for adults seeking to retrain themselves for new careers in data science.

UAE Minister of State for Youth Affairs Shamma Al Mazrui visits Yandex

Learning more about the education systems of other countries is an excellent way for us to tailor our academic programs to a global audience.

We look forward to creating more opportunities for global data science learners and expanding the reach of our educational programs.

Yandex.Live, Our Intelligent Streaming Platform

Every day, billions of people around the world consume video content, whether it be viral videos, television shows, movies, sports, or any number of other events.  Russians are some of the most prolific viewers of media in the world, as TV and movies are extremely popular across the country.

Until recently, streaming content in Russia was largely a challenging process, and content often wasn’t easily accessible.  As the country’s largest internet company and a leader in intelligent products and services, we realized we could use our expertise to deliver a better streaming experience.  We set out to develop an intuitive, smart platform that offers an engaging one-stop-shop for streaming in Russia.  

Today we’re excited to be revolutionizing the streaming experience in Russia for tens of millions of viewers every month with our Yandex.Live service, which makes it easier than ever to watch content online.  Yandex.Live (in Russian) brings together all of our video services, powered by our intelligent machine learning tech to create a personalized viewing platform with a vibrant community. The free, accessible service makes it easy for people to watch their favorite serials, films, games, and events wherever they may be.

The Journey to Yandex.Live

As a first step to launching our streaming platform, in 2013, we acquired KinoPoisk, a popular database for movie information in Russia with a strong reputation among Russian movie buffs.  In 2015, we added streaming capabilities to the website, turning KinoPoisk into a central hub for online media.

We developed a smart recommendation system for KinoPoisk, using our machine learning technologies to make personalized content suggestions based on user behavior.  We also introduced our Deep Dive technology, which uses facial recognition to detect actors and provide viewers with their names and filmographies.

Over the years, we’ve expanded our media offerings with the expertise we gained from turning KinoPoisk into a hub for intelligent streaming to ultimately debut Yandex.Live in 2018.  Yandex.Live launched as a free web portal for Russians to stream their favorite TV channels. An intuitive interface allows viewers to quickly switch between channels, just as if they’re watching a traditional TV.  Aside from TV shows, Yandex.Live also streams live sports events, concerts, and theatre shows.

The Yandex.Live homepage

We integrated our existing video services into Yandex.Live, so the streaming platform is now our central video platform.  Users can continue to watch live TV through Yandex.Live, but the service now integrates films from KinoPoisk, exclusive content from influencers, and live concerts and sports.  Yandex.Live is an intuitive, smart portal for Russian internet users to view entertainment, and with this year’s launch of an HDMI dongle, they can now stream Yandex.Live from their TVs.

A Smart Streaming Platform

One of the most exciting developments in our online video efforts has been the integration of our machine learning expertise.  Yandex.Live users benefit from a customized array of media recommendations, powered by our intelligent algorithms. As users gain access to more and more streaming content, our technology helps push the most relevant videos to our users.

Our machine learning algorithms cultivate an intelligent viewing experience by using activity like watching history and ratings.  In May, we expanded our recommendation engine to include an entirely new channel powered by AI, “My Live.”  The new channel presents a personalized list of videos from around the web - whether it be Russian television networks, vloggers, or movies.  Users can like and dislike videos to fine-tune our algorithms, which also consider watching history and other viewing behaviors to create the feed.

While we use AI to help users find the most relevant streaming content, we also use the tech to make sure content is of the highest quality.  Since 2018, we’ve been using our super-resolution technology, DeepHD, to improve the quality of streams in real-time on Yandex.Live.

Community Viewing

Part of what drives us to continue enhancing the intelligent tech behind Yandex.Live is the service’s engaged community of users.  Every day, millions of viewers tune in to Yandex.Live, and we’ve added features to create a communal viewing experience. Each channel in Yandex.Live has a chatbox to the right of the stream, enabling users to discuss what they’re watching with other viewers and react to the program.

Across our sports programming, we’ve added the ability to respond with emojis during live streams.  As sports tends to generate high emotions, the emoji reactions are a popular way for viewers to have an immersive experience.  They can react to events in the game and see how others are responding. We rolled this feature out during the 2018 FIFA World Cup, when people could watch streams of the games on Yandex.Live and react with emojis and using the chatbox. Football games continue to be popular following the World Cup, with viewers engaging with the community as they stream Russian Football National League games.

A live stream of a sports event, with the reaction emojis displayed in the lower right

Yandex.Live also helps bring events to people who may not have a chance to see them in person.  Theatre broadcasts, which we stream live, bring some of Russia’s biggest theatrical shows to viewers across Russia.  A performance of Pyotr Fomenko’s “Happy Village,” for example, attracted twice as many viewers when streamed in Yandex.Live as it had across its entire nineteen-year run.  Yandex.Live viewers can also use the service to watch international shows right from their homes; for example, a theatrical performance of the German play “Mir nämeds uf öis” by Christoph Marthaler proved to be popular, which we broadcast with Russian subtitles.

We look forward to enhancing Yandex.Live with even smarter capabilities and more content to offer our users the most advanced streaming service in Russia.  We will continue to add content from around the globe as we bring international events and media to our millions of viewers.

YSDA-HSE’s Annual Machine Learning Summer School Heads to Germany

We’ve long felt that being one of Europe’s largest tech companies means we have a responsibility to help educate current and future generations of data scientists.  We’re continually looking for ways to advance machine learning for our users and the greater AI community, and one way of doing that is to encourage data science learning.  Our education initiatives offer opportunities for a broad range of learners, from those interested in online courses to professionals looking for career advancement in computer science.  Many of our education programs stem from our collaborations with higher education institutions, which enable us to work with the brightest scientific minds to teach diverse topics in machine learning. 

The annual Machine Learning in High Energy Physics summer school which we help organize is an excellent example of our commitment to academic collaboration.  The Yandex School of Data Analysis and the Laboratory of Methods for Big Data Analysis at Moscow’s Higher School of Economics (HSE) have annually staged the summer school since 2015.  Each year, we work with a different scientific partner in Europe to host the summer program.  This year, the DESY research center in Hamburg, Germany, will host the fifth MLHEP summer school from July 1st to July 10th.  The program will welcome 71 postgraduates and postdoctoral researchers from 17 countries, with most coming from the EU, the United States, and Russia.  

The MLHEP summer school focuses on the emerging fields of data analysis and computational research in High Energy Physics (HEP), also known as particle physics.  Machine learning helps solve essential problems in HEP that range from online data filtering and reconstruction to offline data analysis. Over ten days, students at the summer school will have both a theoretical and practical introduction to machine learning in HEP, covering topics from decision trees to deep learning and hyperparameter optimisation.  Students will have the opportunity to apply what they learn with concrete examples and hands-on tutorials.

Participants in previous years have come from all over the world with diverse backgrounds to enhance their machine learning skills.  

“During the MLHEP school, I widened my understanding of machine learning methods,” says Mikkel Bjorn, a DPhil student in Elementary Particle Physics at the University of Oxford.  “I learned new ideas about where the techniques we studied can be useful in the work of myself and my group.” 

Alexey Kharlamov, a recent graduate of HSE, adds that “Most of all I liked the atmosphere of the program, which cultivated an interest in machine learning as a result of working with both motivated students and excellent teachers who love their subject.  In such an environment, it’s exciting to develop your data science skills.”

The MLHEP summer program emphasizes both theoretical knowledge and practical application to ensure students come away with applicable skills.  We organize a related machine learning competition that spans two to three months to provide a continued opportunity for students to apply their knowledge.  The competition is inspired by Yandex’s long-standing relationship with CERN, where researchers from Yandex have been working with physicists to solve issues related to matter and energy.  In particular, students will be creating solutions related to the Large Hadron Collider beauty experiment at CERN. The competition will require students to process particle information using modelling techniques.  The two-part contest will be similar to Kaggle machine learning competitions and take place in a co-learning environment, encouraging students to work together to solve challenges.

Lecturers from the Faculty of Computer Science at HSE, a department Yandex co-founded, will teach most of the sessions.  As we’re always eager to promote an atmosphere of collaboration in our education initiatives, we’re excited to announce they will be joined by several guest lecturers from Facebook, Oracle, Caltech, and more, who will be teaching sessions on causal inference, probabilistic programming, and other machine learning topics.

The MLHEP summer school is yet another exciting opportunity for Yandex to collaborate with academia and encourage data science learning.  For more information about the program, please visit the website and follow @yandexcom on Twitter to get updates during the summer school!

New Version of Yandex.Auto Offers Deeper Car Connectivity

Earlier this week, we announced that our in-car infotainment system, Yandex.Auto, will ship with millions of new Renault, Nissan, AVTOVAZ/LADA vehicles in Russia.  This expansion will build on the hundreds of thousands of cars that already integrate Yandex.Auto to provide more drivers with an easy and safe way to access their favorite Yandex services.

Today, we’re excited to share that by the end of the year we will be rolling out a new version of Yandex.Auto that will offer an enhanced connected car experience with more smart functionalities for managing driving tasks and controlling the vehicle.

Yandex.Auto will automate many routine driving tasks to make driving as simple as possible.  A parking feature will detect when drivers have parked in a paid area and Yandex.Auto will automatically add time to the meter if it expires.  Yandex.Auto will save parking spot locations as well, so drivers can easily use their smartphones to find their car. By establishing deeper integration with the vehicle, Yandex.Auto will also maintain the vehicle’s location in areas with limited reception, such as tunnels.

The new version of Yandex.Auto will provide more options for users to control the vehicle with their smartphones and our intelligent assistant, Alice.  Drivers will be able to ask Alice to lock and unlock the doors, control the windows, start the engine, and open the trunk through Yandex.Auto.  For instance, users will be able to remotely ask Alice to start the car and turn on the climate controls.

“Technology is making driving easier and safer,” says Roman Chernin, Head of Yandex Geolocations Services.  “As drivers turn to automation and voice-control to use their cars, vehicles are coming to resemble tech like smartphones and computers.  With the new Yandex.Auto, we’re taking a major step towards the next generation of connected cars. The updates coming later this year will automate many tasks for drivers, such as paying for parking.  We strive to provide our users with the safest driving experience, and the new version of Yandex.Auto helps us realize this vision.”

Various new Toyota, Nissan, Renault, and Chery models have Yandex.Auto preinstalled, in addition to almost 10,000 vehicles in our car sharing fleet, Yandex.Drive.  Owners of select models from carmakers such as Volkswagen, Škoda, and Hyundai can also replace the factory-standard infotainment system with an aftermarket Yandex.Auto solution.  

Yandex.Auto

With the purchase of a head unit, drivers can have Yandex.Auto installed on compatible cars at authorized service centers for free.  For the first six months, Yandex provides unlimited data for Yandex apps and services within the Yandex.Auto platform, and 1 GB per month for third-party services.  Yandex.Auto also comes with a free six-month subscription to Yandex.Music.

For more information about Yandex.Auto visit auto.yandex.

How Yandex Brings Nowcasting to Russians from Coast to Coast with Yandex.Weather

Knowing the weather forecast is a central part of our daily lives.  The weather can affect how we dress for the day and if we walk to work or hail a taxi, for example.  At Yandex, we appreciate that having an accurate weather forecast is critical to navigating daily routines.  That’s why we developed our own weather forecasting tech, Meteum, which has enabled Yandex.Weather to be the first and only service in Russia to feature nowcasting in weather predictions.  Today, we’re excited to announce that, after adding data from a second satellite, nowcasting is now available for nearly all 53 million monthly Yandex.Weather users in Russia, expanding from its initial rollout in European Russia.

When we set out to create an intelligent weather service, we realized it was an excellent opportunity to apply our machine learning expertise to something that people depend on every day, especially as Russian users lacked an accurate, intuitive weather service.  Yandex.Weather incorporates deep learning AI technologies to provide users with reliable weather reports.  Our Meteum tech, the backbone of Yandex.Weather, combines traditional weather models with machine learning to produce highly accurate weather predictions.  Our weather service became even more precise in 2017 after we introduced hyperlocal nowcasting, providing minute-by-minute precipitation predictions within a two-hour window based on a user’s location.

We’ve also continued to improve how people can access Yandex.Weather and ensure it is always available in the most convenient ways possible.  Over the past few years, as the Yandex ecosystem of products and services has grown, Yandex.Weather has grown with it.  One of the most popular uses of Yandex.Weather is through the Yandex app, which offers a fluid user-experience across our various services, including localized weather notifications so our users can plan accordingly.  We’ve also integrated Yandex.Weather with our intelligent assistant, Alice.  Users can ask their Alice-equipped devices about the forecast, whether they are on the go or at home.  Alice shares weather updates to users on their phones, laptops, connected cars, and smart speakers.

Yandex's Alice telling the weather

Alice is asked what the weather is in Moscow

With the expansion of nowcasting, our users in locations from the Baltic Sea to the Pacific Ocean can now receive hyperlocal weather updates through a variety of Yandex products.  Fishers in Vladivostok can see notifications informing them of any precipitation coming in the next couple hours, while users in Yakutsk, one of the coldest cities on Earth, can ask Alice just how many layers they should wear before heading outside.  Below, a Yandex.Weather user in downtown Yakutsk can see that on this relatively mild day they can head out with just a raincoat, or wait out the rain for half an hour.

Yandex.Weather with nowcasting

We’re able to offer nowcasting to a greater number of Yandex.Weather users now that we have access to data from a second satellite, the Himawari-8.  Previously, one stationary weather satellite, the Meteosat-8 over East Africa, provided the data for Yandex.Weather’s nowcasting.  The Himawari-8’s position over New Guinea provides Meteum with weather data from a larger area that Meteosat-8 doesn’t cover.  As a result, Yandex.Weather users in Siberia and the Russian Far East now have hyperlocal nowcasting for the first time.  Thanks to the positioning of the satellites, Yandex.Weather can even provide users with nowcasting for a wide variety of locations outside our primary market of Russia, stretching from London to Shanghai.  In the future, Yandex.Weather engineers plan to pull data from a diverse range of weather satellites so the service’s nowcasting can be offered to users wherever they may be in the world.

While our users east of the Ural Mountains now have access to minute-by-minute forecasting throughout the Yandex ecosystem, they’ve long been able to use Yandex.Weather for Russia’s most accurate hourly and daily weather predictions.  When comparing weather predictions in Russia to the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF), Yandex.Weather is up to 42% more accurate in predicting hourly precipitation, and up to 28% more accurate when predicting the 10-day temperature forecast.

Accurate weather forecasts are not only vital to how our users’ plan their daily routines but can also influence how they interact with various Yandex services.  We will continue to innovate our weather service for users and explore new ways to incorporate Yandex.Weather’s forecasting throughout our ecosystem.

To check out Yandex.Weather for yourself, give the website or the iOS and Android apps a try today!

Yandex Becomes Official Supplier of Infotainment Systems for Renault, Nissan, and AVTOVAZ/LADA

We launched the Yandex.Auto in-vehicle infotainment system in 2017 with the goal of offering our users an easy and safe way to access their favorite Yandex services while on the move.  Since then, Yandex.Auto infotainment system has been installed in over a hundred thousand new cars and has also been deployed in almost 10,000 cars in the Yandex.Drive car-sharing fleet.

Today, we are thrilled to announce that Yandex has become the official supplier of in-car infotainment systems for Russia’s best-selling automotive brands – Renault, Nissan, and AvtoVAZ/LADA.  Drivers of Renault, Nissan, and AvtoVAZ/LADA cars will now be able to use Yandex’s intelligent voice assistant, Alice, to safely interact with Yandex’s most popular services while on the road.  Drivers can ask Alice for directions, search for points of interest, launch turn-by-turn navigation with real-time traffic data and stream their favorite music from the cloud.

"Over the next five years, more than two million Renault, Nissan and AvtoVAZ/LADA cars will include the Yandex.Auto infotainment platform," says Andrey Vasilevsky, Director of Automotive Business Development at Yandex.  “As a factory-installed infotainment system, Yandex.Auto will offer buyers of these leading auto brands with a state-of-the-art connected car solution for the Russian market.”

“We are pleased to have Yandex as a strategic partner of Renault, Nissan and LADA in Russia. Millions of Russians use Yandex products and services and they would love to have them in their cars as well. That is why this is the first time we have chosen a local multimedia provider for a local market,” says Cyrille Druhen-Charnaux, Purchasing Director of Alliance Purchasing Organization RUS.

Select models of new cars from Toyota, Nissan, Renault, and Chery currently ship with Yandex.Auto as the standard infotainment system.  The partnership announced today will bring Yandex.Auto to an even greater number of Nissan and Renault models, and now cars from AvtoVAZ/LADA as well.  Owners of select models from carmakers such as Volkswagen, Skoda, and Hyundai can also replace the factory-standard infotainment system with an after-market Yandex.Auto solution.  In addition to personal vehicles, the majority of cars in the Yandex.Drive car-sharing fleet are equipped with Yandex.Auto.

Yandex.Taxi Announces Appointment of Chief Financial Officer

Yandex.Taxi began as an on-demand transportation service in Moscow and today it operates an expansive ride-hailing business in 16 countries; a restaurant delivery service, Yandex.Eats; a meal-kit delivery service, Yandex.Chef; and an advanced self-driving car program.  As the business continues to grow, we’re excited to announce the appointment of Yevgeny Senderov as Chief Financial Officer of Yandex.Taxi.

Yevgeny brings over twenty years of experience in finance to Yandex.Taxi.  He joins the Yandex.Taxi team after nine years at VTB Capital, one of Russia’s leading investment banks, where for the last three years he served as Managing Director in the Private Equity and Special Situations Group.  While at VTB Capital, Yevgeny developed software and system integration companies, and businesses in retail and food tech, ranging from startups to large corporations.  At VTB Capital, he participated in a number of companies’ listings, including EPAM Systems, Luxoft, and Lenta.  Previously, Yevgeny served as Vice President of the Alfa Capital Partners, and prior to that, he started his career as an investment banking analyst at Credit Suisse bank.  

Yevgeny also served as Chairman of the Board of Directors of Burger King Russia and President and COB of Russ Outdoor, one of Russia's largest outdoor advertising operators.  Yevgeny holds a Master of Business Administration from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from the University of Chicago.  

"We are excited to welcome Yevgeny to our team,” says the CEO of Yandex.Taxi, Tigran Khudaverdyan.  “His vast experience and knowledge, alongside his expertise in private equity, will improve our financial discipline and capital allocation decisions."

"In just seven years,” says Yevgeny Senderov, “Yandex.Taxi has grown from a small startup to a multibillion-dollar tech company with a number of innovative business lines.  I am honored to join the team leading this impressive growth, and I look forward to applying my knowledge and experience to help the company reach even more impressive heights.”

Earth Day 2019: How Our Finland Data Centre Helps Heat the Local Community

For nearly fifty years, people around the world have come together on April 22nd to celebrate Earth Day and take the initiative to protect the environment.  We’re celebrating Earth Day 2019 by highlighting the importance of sustainable tech - specifically green data centres and their potential to improve local communities.  Our data centre in Mäntsälä, Finland uses innovative heat recovery tech to transfer its excess heat to the local energy grid, providing up to half of the town’s energy needs.  This excess recycled heat from the data centre results in lower energy prices and lowered carbon emissions in Mäntsälä. With data centres increasingly forming a crucial backbone for the tech that powers our lives, they stand to only grow in number and importance. Yandex is proud to be at the forefront of efforts to make these vital buildings environmentally friendly and useful to neighboring communities.

Opened in 2015, our engineers designed the data centre with environmental sustainability as a central tenet of the building’s function.  The sleek, aerodynamic shell of the building, resembling an aeroplane wing, was designed to take in as much wind as possible to cool the building rather than relying on air-conditioning.  Finland also offered favorable dynamics for the sustainability efforts as well. Similar to the cold environments in Russia where we host our other data centres, the Nordic country’s chilly climate means that the centre’s servers need less cooling and can conserve energy.  In Finland, sustainable energy policies further contribute to making it an ideal location for hosting the data centre, as 47% of electricity (in Finnish) is produced from renewable resources, and 79% of energy production is carbon neutral.

When designing the Mäntsälä data centre, in addition to the sustainable dynamics of the centre itself, we realized we had the opportunity to transfer excess heat to the benefit of the community.  The town’s energy grid offered ideal conditions for the centre’s excess heat. The local utility company, Nivos, welcomed the plan to work together and had the infrastructure to integrate a heat transfer system, with a well-connected network of insulated pipes to bring the excess heat to a central boiler.  Currently, the data centre’s excess heat is providing half the town’s heat supply, and Mäntsälä's residents have seen their energy bills reduced by 12%. Carbon emissions produced by Nivos have also declined by 40% because the company can use our data centre’s recycled heat rather than energy generated from fossil fuels.

While our data centre has been transferring excess heat to Nivos since the building’s completion in 2015, we’re excited to be rolling out a more efficient, second generation of heat recovery tech.  We started this process in November of last year by introducing the new tech in the part of the facility, which is now recovering 60-80% of excess heat, more than double the energy recycled in the first version.  With just a partial implementation of the new tech combined with the first generation of the heat recovery system throughout the rest of the facility, the data centre is currently reusing nearly half of its excess heat.  As we look ahead to installing the second version of the heat recovery tech throughout the rest of the data centre, we expect to soon reuse 90% of the facility's energy.

“As an innovative tech company, we at Yandex want to set an example of creating new ideas and innovations for sustainable energy use,” says Ari Kurvi, Manager of the Mäntsälä data centre.  “For us, it’s important to ensure communities benefit from our data centres, and one way we can do this is by reusing the excess energy we produce to improve the lives of local people. With the excess heat from our Mäntsälä facility, local households have lower energy bills, lower carbon emissions, and we can fulfill half of their annual energy needs.  Once we fully implement the latest heat recovery technology, we expect our Mäntsälä data centre to recycle nearly all consumed energy. We want to show the industry that it’s possible to reuse excess heat from these facilities sustainably, and we encourage the rest of the tech community to design data centres that also work for the good of local communities.”

Tech firms have a central role in making the infrastructure that powers our daily lives more sustainable, and Yandex is proud to be leading these efforts.  As we take the time on Earth Day to recognize the importance of sustainable technology, we also celebrate the efforts of people all around the world to come together and protect our environment for a brighter future.