Facebook opens public data to Russian search engine Yandex

Posts and comments from Facebook users in Russia will now wend their way to Yandex's search results.

Lance Whitney Contributing Writer
Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books--one on Windows and another on LinkedIn.
Lance Whitney
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg James Martin/CNET

Facebook has cut a deal that will give it more exposure among Russian users.

The social network has given full access to its stream of public data to Russian search engine Yandex. Announcing the news on Tuesday, Yandex said that its search results will now include people and company pages on Facebook. The results will specifically tap into posts and other items from Facebook users in Russia, the Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Turkey.

In the near future, Facebook posts and comments will also show up, but only those marked as public, according to Yandex. Private posts will be off limits. Facebook posts already appear in the search results in the Blogs area of Yandex, but the new agreement adds them to the main search page as well.

"Yandex will use data from Facebook's public firehose feed to improve the quality of its search results," Yandex said. "Where appropriate, Yandex's search results will incorporate articles and videos that have had particular resonance on the social network. The popularity of materials on Facebook will be taken into consideration when ranking search results."

So what does Facebook get out of the deal?

A Yandex spokeswoman told Reuters that Facebook will get more traffic as a result of the increased exposure. Facebook may be tops in many countries, but not in Russia where it's dominated by local social networks such as Vkontakte and Odnoklassniki.