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Mail.Ru stops cooperation with Google, switches over fully to proprietary search engine

July 1 LSE-listed Russian Internet company Mail.Ru Group announced that all user queries on its Search Mail.Ru service will be handled by its proprietary search engine. Previously, more than half of the queries – mostly international ones – were serviced by Google.

The actual development of the company’s search engine began as early as 2004. In 2007, a “draft version” of the new engine was released as a separate service named GoGo.

Over the past few years, the search engine’s development team has grown from 15 to 200 people, while in the last six months, the volume of indexed documents has doubled from 5 billion to 10 billion documents.

According to the research company comScore, Search Mail.Ru attacted 39.5 million visitors worldwide in May 2013. Data from LiveInternet shows that the engine has a sizable 9% market share as of June 2013, compared with 53% for Yandex and 34.3% for Google.

Financial considerations or political context?

Starting from the very beginning, search queries on the Mail.Ru home page had been serviced by third-party companies. The first search partner of Mail.Ru was the Russian Internet giant Yandex.

In 2010 Mail.ru switched to Google after a transition period during which search queries at Mail.ru were handled by GoGo.

“In 2010, as we started cooperation with Google, we were already paying extreme attention to go.mail.ru,” said Mail.Ru Group PR Manager Anastasia Kosheleva in an exchange with East-West Digital News.

Financial considerations may have triggered Mail.Ru Group to drop Google: as estimated by Finam Global, the Internet group has paid up to $20 million to the US giant. Moreover, the contract between the companies implied that all the contextual ads in search results were also controlled by Google.

It cannot be ruled out, however, that the current political context – with US web companies providing US secret service with access to their users’ personal data – played a role in Mail.Ru Group’s decision, wrote the business daily Vedomosti. 

2013-07-08, East-West Digital News.

Keywords: search engines, Google, Mail.ru Group

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