Why Google is Scared of a Mouse

Why Google is Scared of a Mouse

Yandex vs Google | Blueprint Perhaps it is a myth that an elephant is frightened by a mouse. Yet, it is certainly true that an elephant is afraid of everything it doesn’t know. What is there for a giant like that to be afraid of, if it can crush everything beneath it?

The elephant is the master of his environment. He is a dominant force, and nothing can stop him. He makes the world his own. However the mouse is always lingering. To what is a crumb to the elephant, can be a feast to the mouse. In his search for food, a mouse quickly discovers the elephant’s many leftovers. In the elephant’s home, the mouse finds his own. In it, a mouse has everything he needs: nesting material, warmth and quiet hiding places.

The mouse sees the elephant, but has the elephant seen the mouse coming?

If Google is an elephant, Yandex is a mouse.

Google is the dominant search engine for over a billion users worldwide. While only 420 million users prefer other engines to perform their search, this minority is among some of the fastest emerging markets.

Out of 194 countries, Google dominates the majority with over the half of the market share. However, according to Search Engine Watch:

  • Yandex in Russia has about 43% of the market
  • Baidu in China has about 60% of the market
  • Sezam in the Czech Republic has 63%
  • Naver in South Korea has 60% of the local search market
  • Yahoo! Japan comes at a little more than 50%

What differentiates Yandex from other search engines is that it is just like Google – only in the geographical location of Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan and recently Turkey. Commanding over 60% of the Russian market share, Yandex became the 4th largest search engine in the world in terms of number of queries. It ranks first on the Russian Internet.

However, if Yandex is identical to Google, why would Russians choose Yandex over Google when Google is almost everywhere and almost everything with international access to the World Wide Web?

Because Yandex is different.

Even though Google and Yandex have a similar ranking algorithm, Yandex is more linguistically sensitive to the search, this allows Yandex to provide much more accurate search results than Google. The Russian language is complex; with at least 20 different endings drastically affecting the meaning of the sentence. To illustrate, the name of the Russian Prime Minister is Putin. Yet, his wife has last name of “Putina”.

It is just how it works and Yandex pays attention to it. Perhaps, Google’s international formula is good, but just not good enough. Given the complexity of the languages, more cultures may follow the example of Yandex to develop engines specific to their language architecture with better search results.

Yandex is Russian. It understands what the Russian people want.

Yandex cares about privacy.

Backing for privacy on the internet from giants like Google, has been gaining tread for quite some time now. With laws already in place in the European Union, such as the “Right to be Forgotten”, Russian authorities have taken steps of their own. Recently, Russian Duma, lower house of the Federal Assembly of Russia, passed a bill requiring the Internet to restrict user information outside of its geographical territory. Google has a very little chance of being successful in this region, where such data flow is absolutely necessary for reaching deeper levels of search.

Should the elephant fear the mouse?

Perhaps. Yandex provides users with an alternative. Yandex provides users with what they want. Yandex isn’t just the number one website in Russia. Like Facebook in the US, Yandex is often the first thing that people look at when they go on the web. With its own free mail, images, videos, maps, news, Yandex offers everything that a user needs.

By: Lilit Martinrosyan
  • Elizabeth Weaver

    Great article, Lilit! It’s always interesting to learn more about other search engines and how their algorithms/results compare to Google. In SEO, it’s so easy to become tunnel-visioned with a focus on Google but there are other relevant search engines to be familiar with! I like how you’ve pointed out these facts about search in international markets. This is something I’d like to learn more about. Nice job!

  • Samantha Torres

    Looking at the reports of search engine usage, it’s been interesting to watch Baidu and Yandex just continue to rise. Knowing that Yandex understands the context of Russian language makes it clear why!

    Do you think we’ll start to see other search engines that do the same start to rise in other markets? Will more mice take Yandex’s lead?

  • Adam Baxter

    You rarely ever think of other search engines but when you do, you find some pretty neat facts. I wonder if Google’s taken notice and if they have any plans to further world domination in this area.

  • Naima

    Great post, Lilit! International businesses based in Russia need to take advantage of this search engine and optimize websites for Russian audiences for Yandex. Google will always be the major search engine for the rest of the world, unless the rising search engines find their way to international market. ​

    We might need to optimize websites based on geographic locations, but I don’t see that happening in the near future of SEO.

  • Aaron Ward

    Great article Lilit. I’ve never heard of Yandex but it is great to learn that Yandex has a developed a more precise search. I am interested to learn more about this topic

  • John

    This was very interesting to read. I didn’t know there were so many different search engines, especially those that cater to specific languages. Very cool stuff.

  • Alfredo J. Rodriguez

    Thanks for this really interesting look into the international search market. A lot of information I had never considered before.

  • Chuniq Inpower

    The varied needs of international citizens is very important to recognize as the culture and perspectives, as well as consumer behavior habits are not always the same in each country. For Russia to have Yandex, a tool that completely speaks to its natives without complication is awesome.

  • Rebekah Faucette

    It’s amazing that Yandex not only trumps Google in certain parts of the world, but that it has also created a full suite of products to serve the users. For those of us in the US, it seems unfathomable that another Maps or Mail source would be our first choice, but it just proves that language is truly a top priority when creating a product. Great article!