In a special presentation at Big Think's Farsight 2011, Ilya Segalovich, co-founder and CTO of Russian search engine Yandex spoke about why his company has been dominant in that country's search market, with a 60 percent share of queries.
"We are a monopoly," he admitted. Yandex established its primacy early and "it is hard for other search engines to grow without lots of signals from human behavior, and without the things that monopolies have and other companies do not have."
He said that one of the main advantages that Yandex has in Russian markets is the fact that Western search engines don't have enough semantic knowledge of Russian, and that his company has gone deep into a number of Russian verticals. Another strength of Yandex's is its strong focus on local culture, even within the Russian-speaking world, he said: "What is relevant in Moscow is irrelevant in Vladivostock. ... we have different cultures, different queries."
Asked what his company offered that Google did not, or "What can Google steal from you?" he said that Yandex had stronger shopping and bilingual search capabilities that Google could look to develop.