Russia Building State-Controlled “Sputnik” Search Engine

/ 3 years ago


A Reuters report that emerged recently suggests that Russia is preparing to launch its own state-controlled search engine. The state-controlled search engine will be dubbed “Sputnik” and the Sputnik search engine will be operated by the Russian state-controlled Rostelecom. The Russian government has been pouring a fair bit of money into it, $20 million so far, and has started trying to hire in talent from other big search engines. The website will go live in Q1 of 2014 and will be the default search engine for all state employees. So far the Sputnik project has indexed about half the Russia internet.

Analysts are sceptical of Sputnik’s chances of success and it is not expected to eat much into the 60% market share Yandex has in the Russian search engine market. Analysts claim the expertise required for a successful search engine is not possessed by Rostelecom and the Russian government has underestimated the expertise needed.

“Even if the launch of Sputnik is well-executed, we do not expect it could significantly eat into the market shares of Yandex or Google” said Bank of America Merrill Lynch analysts.

A state-controlled search engine would be the latest internet control measure put in place by the Russian government which has already seen it launch a website black-list that critics claim will increase censorship in the country.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

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