Earlier this month, we reported that Google would be replacing Russian search leader Yandex as the default search engine and ad server on Mail.ru, the most popular online destination in the country with more than 50 million unique monthly users.
This morning, Mail.ru confirmed (in Russian) that it will be replacing Yandex with Google as its default search provider starting January 2010.
The company noted that Mountain View will indeed refrain from branding the search engine with the Google name and logo like it usually does.
As we wrote earlier when word got out:
Mail.ru has an estimated 10% search share in Russia, behind Google with 23%, but both pale in comparison to leader Yandex, which takes up no less than 58% of the market. By replacing Yandex as default search engine on the Mail.ru portal, Google will grow its share to over one third of the market.
Google will also be powering the contextual advertising part of the equation for Mail.ru, in a country where its size is estimated at around $400 million.
Update: the agreement reportedly spans 1 year, and the terms stipulate that Mail.ru will receive a 60 percent share of revenues from ad clicks (which is more than Mail.ru currently receives from Yandex).
Mail.ru already worked with Google for search and ads from 2003 to 2005.
(Thanks for the tip, Yakov)