Yandex unveils its first hardware product — Yandex.Station, a smart speaker equipped with the company’s AI-based Russian-speaking voice assistant. It provides a complete in-home multimedia entertainment experience playing music in advanced sound quality, streaming videos, films and television shows to a connected display and helping users with their daily routines.
Yandex takes its autonomous vehicle from the lab to the road. The company starts public testing of a driverless ride-sharing service at two locations, Innopolis and Skolkovo. The Innopolis service runs along a planned route, while Skolkovo has a full-fledged driverless taxi service available through the app. This year Yandex also gets a license for testing autonomous vehicles outside of Russia — in Israel and Nevada, USA.
Yandex.Drive and Yandex.Eats
To help people living in large cities enjoy their lives a little bit more, Yandex launches two services at the start of this year. The car sharing service Yandex.Drive, available through an app for iOS or Android devices, offers its users a choice of vehicles in various classes, flexible tariffs and a 24-hour customer support service. The order delivery service Yandex.Eats, also available through the iOS and Android apps, provides delivery from a large network of restaurants and cafes in the shortest possible time, thanks to Yandex’s order distribution technology.
Yandex rolls out a large update to its search engine, which includes over a thousand improvements. The key updates help users complete their tasks as quickly as possible, choose the most reliable sources of information, discover media content and save it in their personal collections. Yandex also updates its ranking algorithm to put more weight on website quality. The updated version of the company’s search engine is named ‘Andromeda’.
Yandex and Sberbank create a joint venture based on Yandex.Market. The new company focuses on developing a whole ecosystem of e-commerce services. Online marketplace Beru offering a wide range of products, from electronics to pet food, launches in spring, followed by Bringly, a cross-border shopping platform, which opens in autumn.