Yandex is one of few national non-English language search engines that have managed to outrun the likes of Google, Microsoft and Yahoo in their countries, in this case Russia.
Yandex was first to market in Russia – it made its debut in 1997 – and has since established itself as the undisputed leader in search with an estimated domestic market share of 58% according to LiveInternet.ru. At number two we find Google, which trails far behind at 23% despite a recent search partnership with Mail.ru, the third horse in this race.
But rather than building a browser of its own, Yandex has apparently opted to develop a custom iteration of Google’s Chrome browser based on the Chromium open source project. We were tipped about the branded browser, which integrates Yandex services, this morning but we’re not sure when it was launched exactly. But given that it’s hosted on a Yandex.ru subdomain, it’s definitely the real thing.
The browser comes equipped with Yandex as its default search engine, has the popular Yandex Web portal set as its homepage and also features a number of bookmarks upon installation that lead to Yandex’s webmail, online maps, shopping and other services.
(Thanks to Sergey Kapustin for the tip)