Last month, Russian Internet giant Yandex unveiled Islands, a feature that brings interactive snippets of content to its search engine, and now it has been released in beta across three countries.
The idea behind Islands is to provide a richer set of search results to give users more options and details relating to websites that show up. Islands initially launched in Turkey only, but it is available to users in Russia and Ukraine too.
The feature currently covers search, images, video and the main Yandex page, but that will expand to other services in time, the company says.
Essentially website managers can make their search results more compelling for users. For example, by providing options for a site that users can take advantage before they actually click through – like logging into a Russian Airlines account from the search results page.
Yandex previously explained that there are different types of Islands, ranging from search snippets, which are basic descriptions that appear below each search result. Site links can also be added to allow users to navigate to specific pages. Finally, there are interactive snippets which present more advanced options, such as logging into accounts from the search results page.
The company says that Islands is available across all devices – computers, tablets and smartphones – though it will take a while to make its way to the company’s full set of core markets. Since it has a beta tag, we can expect more features and tweaks to come too.
Islands is another impressive piece of engineering from Yandex, which previously launched Shell – a Facebook Home-like launcher app for Android devices – and partnered with Opera to promote the Android ecosystem in Eastern Europe.
The company is the dominant search provider in many Eastern European markets, but it gained worldwide attention last year when it released Wonder, a voice-controlled search app for Facebook. Despite the positive reviews it was little wonder that Facebook cut the app’s access to its API, leading to its withdrawal from the App Store.
This week has been notable at Yandex for tragic reasons. Company co-founder and CTO Ilya Segalovich passed away on Thursday after losing his battle with cancer.
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