Yandex Takes To The iPad

Search engine Yandex, which like Google, Bing and Yahoo takes advantage of sites using markup to improve the display of search results, today released a search app for the iPad. The other major search providers have already accounted for the iPad in their search portfolios.

According to the release announcing the news, the Yandex Search App offers a tablet-optimized, intuitive interface marked by the ability for users to open pages as tabs in a browser – as many as they wish – so they can switch between tabs and search results within one screen.

The announcement discusses the app’s ability to provide users with answers to direct questions, such as a map of all bookshops in a local area in response to a request for the address of the closest bookstore. The search app for the iPad is part of Yandex's intent-based search program, the release notes. So its intelligence appears to be related more to the vendor’s Spectrum program that aims to develop the search engine's ability to understand its users' search intentions.

When The Semantic Web Blog caught up with Alexander Shubin, Yandex technical product manager, about Yandex’ collaboration with Google, Microsoft Bing and Yahoo on earlier this year (see story here), he confirmed that semantic markup was not a piece of Spectrum at the time, though it could possibly become part of it in the future.

Spectrum, the company explains, is based on query statistics to help suss out actual user intent even if they aren’t specific in their query that they want to find out more about Apple the company rather than apple the fruit, for instance. The system analyses users’ searches and identifies objects (books or cars, for instance), then classifies them into one or more of its dozens of pre-defined categories. The categorization – each of which has multiple search intents (such as buy, reviews, and feedback in the product category) associated with it – helps the system discriminate between meanings when processing search queries in order to return results based on user intent.

The app, which is localised for iPad users in Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Turkey, can be downloaded for free from the App Store. An English user interface version is available.