Posts Tagged ‘russia’

Crisis in the Ukraine Could Impact Outsourced Semantic Projects

ukraineThe last few months have been witness to the Ukraine crisis, with antigovernment demonstrations in the wake of former President Viktor Yanukovych tightening ties with the Kremlin, his fleeing the country following a rebellion against him, and the annexation of Crimea by Russia. Tensions continue between Ukraine, which plans new presidential elections for May 25, and Russia. Just today, the mayor of Kharkiv, reportedly an opponent of the pro-West protests, was shot in the back, while the U.S. is imposing new sanctions on Russian government officials, including two members of President Putin’s inner circle and 17 companies linked to that inner circle.

Obviously, there are big issues at stake here about sovereignty and nation destabilization, but the situation also has implications for the IT sector. That includes the advancement of semantic projects around the world.

The Semantic Web Blog, for example, recently heard from a contractor working on a semantic project for a website that the effort has fallen a bit behind schedule due to, among other things, geopolitical events. One of its developers was a Russian national working in Ukraine who left the country when Putin annexed Crimea, he said.

Another source who preferred to remain anonymous, and whose semantic technology and IT outsourcing company is located in another Eastern European country, said that his company has already been contacted by a few businesses in the U.S. that had been securing services from software companies in both the Ukraine and Russia. Because of the situation, he said, these companies told him that they are now exploring their options in Eastern European countries that are members of the European Union. In such locations, including his home country, they can find great engineers and still quite competitive rates on the labor side, he noted.

That said, it was clear that that wasn’t the road to new business that this semantic tech executive prefers to travel down, as he noted that World War II and the Soviet occupation of Eastern Europe is still within the living memory of people in these countries.

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Closing In On A Million Open Government Data Sets

A million data sets. That’s the number of government data sets out there on the web that we have closed in on.

“The question is, when you have that many, how do you search for them, find them, coordinate activity between governments, bring in NGOs,” says James A. Hendler, Tetherless World Senior Constellation Professor, Department of Computer Science and Cognitive Science Department at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and a principal investigator of its Linking Open Government Data project lives, as well as Internet web expert for, He also is connected with many other governments’ open data projects. “Semantic web tools organize and link the metadata about these things, making them searchable, explorable and extensible.”

To be more specific, Hendler at SemTech a couple of weeks ago said there are 851,000 open government data sets across 153 catalogues from 30-something countries, with the three biggest representatives, in terms of numbers, at the moment being the U.S., the U.K, and France. Last week, the one million threshold was crossed.

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Catching Up With Yandex: What Russia’s Leading Search Engine Has To Say About

Update: Yandex today (April 26th) reported that net income in the first three months of 2012 rose 53 percent from the same period last year to 1.26 billion rubles ($43 million) as text-based advertising revenue rose, according to Bloomberg. Sales gained 51 percent to 5.9 billion rubles.

In November Russian search engine Yandex joined Google, Microsoft Bing, and Yahoo! to collaborate on The Semantic Web Blog recently caught up by email with Alexander Shubin, Yandex product manager and head of strategic direction, to discuss this and other developments.

The Semantic Web Blog: Can you update us about how Yandex is doing? We know it’s still leading search traffic in Russia, but do you see more competition there, and how have international expansion plans been proceeding?

Shubin: Yandex is the leader in Russia with 59 to 60 percent market share. Russia is one of the few countries where a local search engine keeps a leading position, in spite of international players’ expansion.

Last year Yandex was launched in Turkey, where we suggest 12 services (including web search) so far. According to our statistics, processes more than 1 million queries daily. Turkey is the first non-Russian speaking market for us and we have done a lot of work to deliver services that would be interesting for the local community.  The main target for Yandex in Turkey, where one search engine still keeps 90 percent of search market, is to become the Number 2 player and to deliver more local search results and services than our competitor does.

Turkey is more or less an experiment for us: If we meet our target there, we can potentially do the same on any other non-Russian speaking market. But it is too early to make any conclusions or announcements so far as we have worked in Turkey only half of year. Stay tuned!

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Yandex Partners with Twitter

Yandex, the up-and-coming Russian search engine has struck a deal with Twitter allowing Yandex to post new tweets in search results in real-time. According to the article, “Twitter will give Yandex access to its so-called firehose of all public tweets, the two companies said on Tuesday, in an agreement similar to the one the social short-messaging site has with Microsoft’s search engine, Bing.” Twitter’s director of development April Underwood stated, “We wanted to make sure that Twitter content can be where Twitter users are already going… Discovery through search is so important.” Read more

W3C Opens New Office in Russia

The W3C has opened a new office in Russia. According to the official release, “The Office is hosted by the National Research University ‘Higher School of Economics’ (HSE), founded in 1992. As one of Moscow’s leading Universities, HSE will work with W3C to strengthen ties to both industry and research in Russia as well as HSE’s many international academic and industry partners.” Read more

Russian Search Engine Yandex to Collaborate on

Yandex, Russia’s leading search engine has announced that it is joining forces with Google, Bing, and Yahoo! to collaborate on One article reports, “Now the pages tagged with tags will be picked up not only by Yandex search engine, but also its other services, such as Yandex’s Business Directory, Yandex.Dictionaries, Yandex.Images and Yandex.Video. Yandex shows the data from these services also in its search results.” Read more

Yandex Shares Drop After Day 1

According to a recent article, “Russia’s most popular search engine, Yandex, is seeing its shares slide in its second day of trading… Yandex, which attracted 38.3 million unique users in March and secured 64 percent of all Russian search traffic, priced its initial public offering at $25 per share. Almost immediately, the company’s shares soared, and continued to rise throughout the day. At the close of trading yesterday, Yandex shares settled at $37.75 after reaching a high of more than $42.” Read more

News360 Semantic Service Gets You Local, Personalized News On Your iPhone

What do you get when you combine Semantic Web technology, geo-targeting capabilities, and Apple iOS devices like the iPhone and iPad? How about News360, a free App Store/iTunes app that can give you local news drawn from hundreds of content sources around the world based on your current position. While the team at News360 that developed the technology is based in Russia, the company’s focus is on English-language content, and about 80 percent of its users are U.S.-based.

The app was just updated at year’s end to include, along with some UI redesign and layout features, up-to-date stock graphs for all public companies and more data and links between objects in the dossiers it collects for each of the 130,000 different entities it currently tracks across the Internet. Plans for the service, which can extract users’ favorite objects so that news is more personalized, were to grow from 600 content sources to 1000 by the end of December, says Roman Karachinsky, chief business development officer at News360, with the bigger next-steps goal of reaching 2,000 or 3,000.

Approximately 150,000 articles are indexed by the service each day, and a chunk of them have their full text processed for semantic analysis, with the help of Microsoft’s cloud resources, so that they are available to users no later than 15 minutes after their original publication.

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