A questionable statement it may seem, but Russia is an exceptional country in many ways. The last European market where Google still lags behind Yandex, a local search provider, Russia is in no hurry to be conquered. More so, it seems rather… uninterested.
After a failed attempt to purchase Begun, a unit of a Russian search-engine operator Rambler Media, Google gets another rejection – this time, from Russian Internet users.
In a recent blog post by Mozilla General Counsel Harvey Anderson, Firefox 3.1 will no longer use Google as a default search engine for Russian users. Regardless of the fact that Mozilla gets a big chunk of its revenue through a partnership under which Google shares revenue from search ads, Firefox browsers for Russia will be updated to provide direct access to Yandex search services.
It may be a way for Mozilla to get back at Google for releasing Chrome. But it may also signal a beginning of a new era, where Google is no longer king but rather a number 2, who has to step back and let the local search engines do what they are best at: delivering localized, not English-centric results.
At this point, it may be too early to derive any conclusions. Yet if Russia is a target market for your business, you may want to focus some of your budget and time on Yandex. After all, if the users like it so much, why shouldn’t you?