Google and Yandex close to an agreement despite the war?

The news may seem surprising because one of the protagonists is almost unknown to the general public in Europe, but from reliable sources in the country concerned, we learned this morning of the probable signing of a agreement between Google and Yandex. For those who don't know, Yandex is sort of the Russian Google. And, like the American giant, the Russian company has created a voice assistant integrated into its search engine: Alice (Алиса in Russian). Does this name mean anything to you? However, he is very close to another well-known assistant to our readers…

Yandex, Google made in Russia

In our tests of some smartphones such as the new Realme GT2, you may have noticed that Yandex is a default search engine offered by the brand. This is explained by the high penetration of the Chinese manufacturer in the Russian market.

Yandex is indeed the most used search engine in Russia with more than 55% of searches, which puts it ahead of Google. As Le Figaro mentioned in 2015, the company has also been eyeing the rest of Europe for a while and is trying to seduce by offering a browser that is concerned about our privacy and capable of blocking, in stealth mode, more than 1000 tracers and Cookies. This competitor is therefore taken very seriously by Mountain View, especially since it offers equivalent services such as Yandex Maps, Video, Translate...

Especially since Yandex also created its voice assistant Alice in 2017, a fairly successful mix of Google Assistant and Alexa. It is relatively effective in the language of Fyodor Dostoyevsky and above all, unlike the AIs we know, Alice manages to work in a contextual way. That is to say that you can ask him a question in continuity with the one before, without having to specify again the subject of your request. The results are quite good. Yandex also offers, like Amazon and Google, a range ofspeakers connected with Alice.

A serious competitor that Google would apparently like to make a friend of...

Yandex Alice and Google Assistant: a marriage of interest?

Despite the war in Ukraine, Google is visibly seeking to further penetrate the Russian market. For it, two possibilities for the American company : either upgrade his assistant who is not suitable for Russian at the moment, or make his enemy an ally. This would be the second solution that would be considered according to our sources.

Of course, the current conflict may delay this rapprochement a little but, at the same time, it could also have a significant geopolitical aspect. Indeed, respect for privacy not really being their hobby, the two companies should get along pretty well. It might even help each country better understand the other's state of mind. Finally, the market is huge and goes well beyond the only one, because we are talking here about all Russian-speaking countries such as Belarus and Kazakhstan, but also former members of the Soviet bloc such as Ukraine, Uzbekistan… A market impossible to penetrate otherwise for Google.

More interesting for users, a partnership with Yandex would undoubtedly help Google to finally upgrade your voice assistant significantly, but also to better manage certain aspects where the Californian company still fishes, such as home automation. In fact, the app Home with Alice is much more convincing than Google Home and shows a real mastery in the matter.

According to our source, the first name Alice would thus be preserved, in order to bring more naturalness to the exchanges with the assistant, most of the users hardly appreciating constantly pronouncing the name of a company. A dangerous choice given the phonetic proximity to Alexa byAmazon, Alice pronouncing “Alissa” in Russian, but the success of the competitor would arouse as always lust… In short, whatever the case, the new assistant should be a synthesis of the best of each. But there would be a counterpart as Google Assistant lags behind its Russian counterpart.

Indeed, Yandex would have negotiated that not only will its search engine remain the default one on devices sold in Russia (but modifiable), but also that the new voice assistant resulting from the merger be integrated into Android as well as the Nest speakers sold. on the European market. And this, from the second quarter of 2023, the date risking however to change due to the ongoing conflict that the two companies had not anticipated.

Is this good or bad news for users? For those of Siri (well, those who still remember it), hard to say. For those who have Alexa, it won't change anything. However, given Russia's hacking capabilities, seeing personal data passing through both the USA and Russia is not the most reassuring. It might almost sound like an April Fool's joke if our sources weren't so sure...

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Did i choose Alexa or did she choose me? Let's say that as a beta tester, it's a bit of both! And I do not regret having met our favorite assistant nor this adventure undertaken with Alexien Modo. Technophile, self-taught and loving popularization, I try to make our common passion easy to access!