Yandex, Russia’s biggest search company, today is making two key moves to ramp up Yandex.Disk, its foray into cloud storage services. Today, it is announcing that Samsung will preload Yandex.Disk on to its Series 5 range of Ultrabooks, starting in Russia. And on top of that Yandex is adding English-language support to the service — an indication that Yandex is now setting its sights on taking Yandex.Disk international.
The Samsung deal will see consumers who buy the new Ultrabooks before December 31 get access to 250GB of storage. (The Ultrabooks go on sale this week.) This is a big premium on the regular amount of free storage that Yandex.Disk has been offering users to-date: since the service first launched in April, Yandex has capped free storage at 10GB.
It is the first deal of is kind both for Samsung and Yandex to bundle cloud-storage services on a laptop; although there are rumors that Google will do something similar with Google Drive and Chromebooks in the near future.
“No other service offers this much storage space for free as we do for Samsung Ultrabook buyers,” Anton Zabannykh, head of Personalized Services at Yandex, said in a statement. ” Files stored on Yandex.Disk will of course be accessible on any device, not just the Ultrabook — as long as there is an internet connection.
Meanwhile, the English language support — due to be turned on sometime today, Yandex says — will be the first time that Yandex.Disk will be making itself accessible to an audience outside of Russia and Russian-speaking countries. That makes Yandex.Disk one of the first signs from Yandex of how it might take its business international — something that the company’s founders have been loathe to do in Yandex’s core product of search because of Google’s dominance worldwide.
Cloud storage providers teaming up with device vendors is nothing new: both Dropbox and Box work with handset makers (Samsung and HTC for Dropbox; and LG for Box) to bundle storage with the handset purchase. What makes Yandex’s deal distinctive is that it will entail a lifetime account, while these other offerings typically last for one or two years.
TechCrunch understands that while the Ultrabook deal first covers Russia, it will serve as a blueprint for device partnerships — possibly also with Samsung — in other markets as well.
The idea is to test out how people use the free service first to see if it proves to be more of a cost or a benefit for Yandex before going forward with more deals. Although the price of storage has gone down massively in recent years — driven in part by competitive pricing from companies like Amazon and its AWS products — offering 250GB of free space is a big step forward in what is being given to consumers for free.
The idea for Yandex in offering free cloud storage is to grow its customer base, which it hopes to monetize in other ways. Advertising is the most obvious, but so might be other media services like Yandex.Music, which rely on cloud storage services to work.