What it’s like inside the headquarters of "Russian Google," the biggest tech company in the country - RUSSOFT

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What it’s like inside the headquarters of "Russian Google," the biggest tech company in the country

One building in downtown Moscow is home to more than 5,000 minds powering the largest technology company in Russia

Feb 12, 2018
Yandex is the Russian internet technology firm with a diverse sphere of pursuits and offerings, well-contextualized as "Russian Google." With the Cyrillic character ß (pronounced "ya") denoting the personal pronoun "I," co-founders Arkady Volozh and Ilya Segalovich coined the name "Yandex" in 1993 as a bilingual pun on "index," launching it as a humble search engine in 1997.

In the 20 years since, the company has grown explosively and seems poised to maintain the trend. The bulk of its revenues comes through the sale of ads shown against its search results; 2016 revenue was 75.9 billion rubles ($1.25 billion USD at the time), representing 27 percent growth from 2015.

Its free consumer services include a mapping app, language translation software, an email service, cloud storage, a streaming music platform, and a taxi-hailing service. Its proprietary browser, Yandex Browser, is available on just about any platform you can name, and the company even has its own driverless car initiative.

Just as VKontakte has a strong corollary as "Russian Facebook," Yandex is surely "Russian Google." It represents some of the primary infrastructure of the Russian-speaking internet.

The search engine that started it all — www.yandex.ru — still rules the local search market, and its physical space in Moscow’s Khamovniki district is the stronghold of technological might and human know-how that makes it possible. Yandex’s multi-story complex occupies nearly a complete city block, filled with places for employees to not only work, but to unwind as well.

We recently got a tour of this impressive space, located a short walk away from Moscow’s Kultury Park metro station.