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Summary:

Search engine Yandex is looking to extend its dominance in Russia through a deal to access Twitter’s firehose — allowing users to search millions of incoming tweets in real time.

Yandex Logo, from handout

Yandex Logo, from handoutRussia’s biggest search engine, Yandex, is partnering with Twitter in a move that will significantly boost the site’s real-time search — and help it extend its lead locally over rivals including Google.

The deal gives Yandex access to Twitter’s firehose, and allows users to search it at twitter.yandex.ru, giving them almost instant access to vast troves of data streaming off the messaging service.

The move comes just hours after the Moscow-based service launched a program to incorporate more social networking data into its search results.

And it also comes after Google, which trails Yandex in the Russian market, famously ended its own deal with Twitter — a move that killed off its own real-time search product.

That decision was just one part of an ongoing spat between the two companies, but it appears that Yandex wants to try and take advantage of the situation to further extend its lead over Google in its home market. Currently Yandex is responsible for around 60 percent of Russian searches, but its rival recently stole a few points and moved up to control around a quarter of the market.

Although the terms of the deal aren’t known, it’s likely that Yandex is paying a substantial fee to access Twitter’s data: Microsoft is thought to pay around $30 million each year for the firehose.

  1. The twitter “firehose” is nothing more than theft… twitter selling access to “Community” generated content for hundreds of millions of dollars of which no percentage will ever be returned to the “Community” that has created it.
    I think that it is a travesty that we continue to call the out right theft and reselling of “Community” created value a “firehose”
    How about a simple transparent diagram showing the process of: value creation, value extraction, as well as revenue flows and “firehose” deal details…I believe that because twitter and others have chosen to create a term “firehose’ that seems benign they have been able to escape any close examination of a business process that on its face is inequitable and certainly can be viewed by most as unethical….

    Its time for a change. “Communities” create billions of dollars in “Value” and should be treated with respect and fairness.

    I have been involved in developing consumer tech for over 15 years and I know that it does not have to be this way.  

    We the “Community” that have allowed our value to be extracted by Twitter, Facebook and others so that they can generate billions deserve better than to be treated like products that are sold to the highest bidders. The Communities that add the value should be treated with respect.

    I have been attempting to develop technology with the idea that the “Community” that creates and adds value should come “First”
     
    http://www.kleemi.com is an attempt to brings this dream into reality. Kleemi is in an early beta but at this point still offers cutting edge search, a news reader, and a micro blog service. In the coming weeks we will make some major announcements about some of our new service that will turn the pyramid right side up.

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    1. You’re going to have to explain to me how you square the idea of communities who use free services being pillaged, while also running a search engine that appears to index the same content from the web for free.

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      1. Bobbie
        You are right to point this out and to ask the questions..
        We currently do not leverage search results to generated revenues…When and if we do this you can be certain that unlike google, twitter, or Facebook…we will return most of the value to the “Community” ….

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      2. …also want to point out that there are no “Free” services…as FB, GOOGLE, Twitter and the rest generate billions in revenues and IPO floats on the back “Community” created value….Communities more than pay for the tech provided…so much so that the excess revenues and value extracted from the “Communities” allows many associated with these “Free” services to become millionaires….

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      3. Any chance you can do a good write up on the exact details of what a “firehose” is ? Maybe give the readers some details about how a company can take ownership of community content/data and then sell this content for hundreds of millions of dollars without remunerating the creators of the content/datas ?

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  2. Search engine Yandex is looking to extend its establishment in Russia through a deal to access Twitter’s.

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  3. Bruce, while I appreciate what you’re saying — and obviously there are issues over ownership and sale of information — I am interested in your apparent belief that the only responsible option for any web service is to avoid making money. In fact, that seems to me to be an *abdication* of responsibility towards users… or at the very least leaving the future of the service in a very dangerous place.

    The firehose, for anybody who doesn’t know, is a stream of every tweet coming out of Twitter. Accessing it enables a search engine or other web service to get a real-time feed of data on the site. In most cases the data that is already public, so it’s just a way of getting the Twitter data faster in order to build more interesting and useful secondary products. It’s used by services like Bing and Yandex to let their users search Twitter for messages they’re interested in. That data is already out there on the public web, but paying for the Firehose simply makes the collection process easier.

    NB Twitter does give Firehose access to many people for free, as part of its attempt to encourage usage and innovation around the platform.

    Charging for the Firehose is one reason Twitter remains a free service, and in my mind is infinitely preferable to advertising. At the same time users are free to opt out by making their streams private, or by using other services instead.

    Twitter doesn’t always make good decisions, and I am happy to call them out when they’re being wrong. But selling Firehose access isn’t, in my mind, one of those problems.

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