Yandex, the Russian search engine that dominates the market in its country, has now added a social layer. It debuted an improved people search with data from a number of popular social networks and blogging sites. The company boasts that profiles from site such as VKontakte, Facebook, LiveJournal and Odnoklassniki, some of the most popular in the country.Yandex has also signed a deal with Twitter for full access to the tweet firehose, something that Google notoriously no longer has access to.
The search engine has rolled out a beta version of its new people finder. Yandex scours the web in search of social networking or blogging profiles and tries to tie them together.
It's important to note that the feature only relies on data that is publicly available and indexable by the search engine, data that any other search engine could and does have access to.
Even so, Yandex boasts that it has 250 million personal profile pages in its index at this time. Where it gets interesting is that Yandex also links the various profiles of a single person together and groups them in the search results.
This only happens if the user has linked all of the profiles somehow, i.e. one links to the other or there is a central web page linking to all of them. Yandex is trying to display this as a privacy feature, but it's more of a technical one, it probably doesn't want to start guessing which profiles belong to the same person and which belong to ones with the same name and so on.
Unlike with the other sites, Yandex does have a deal with Twitter, though no financial details have been disclosed. The tweets will be incorporated into Yandex's existing products, but there is also a Twitter specific search over at twitter.yandex.ru.