Yandex has updated its search engine to integrate a family of generative neural networks, plus more than 2,100 other improvements.
As a result, Yandex users gain new features and upgrades including video timestamp responses to search queries, more detailed quick answers to a greater number of queries, improved object recognition in real time, and the ability to view a summary of customer feedback.
Most of the improvements are based on deep neural networks trained on massive volumes of data. The group of generative algorithms introduced in this update is called Yet another Language Model (YaML), they are trained on terabytes of data, and use up to 13 billion parameters to understand natural language and generate responses in Russian. YaLM is used to produce up to 17% of the interactive replies for Yandex's intelligent voice assistant Alice. It also generates captions for rich search results and determines the ranking of quick answers on Yandex Search.
Some notable improvements from the search engine update include:
Video Timestamp Results
Now, in response to a search query such as how to cook a tuna steak, Yandex users are offered a video that starts exactly from the moment this specific demonstration happens, skipping any irrelevant information. Currently available on mobile devices and coming to desktop in the near future, this feature works best for 'how to' queries and video manuals that teach viewers, for example, how to wash a dog or learn to skate.
Yandex Search now responds with quick answers to more user queries across more topics, and also offers more details related to each query. In addition to the information that explains how to train a horse in Minecraft, for instance, or shows the hidden features in iOS, Yandex Search users can now view responses to related queries made by other users. For example, when looking for information about how to start your own business, the Yandex Search users will be offered additional information such as legal requirements for starting a business or how much it may cost. Internet users currently view more than 130 million unique quick answers on Yandex Search each month.
The Smart Camera feature in the Yandex App and Yandex Browser provides mobile users with instant information about objects in real life, including the price of commercially available items and where to buy them. This feature can also be used for instant translation between 45 languages, as well as document scanning and editing. The update also improved Smart Camera object recognition and information retrieval - it now identifies objects in real life and serves up information about them five times better.
Customer Feedback Summary
To help people make a decision about choosing a cafe, restaurant, hotel, shop, or other businesses or organizations - and save them the time it takes to read through hundreds of customer reviews - Yandex now provides an automatically generated customer satisfaction rating scale right in the search results. In response to a query about a restaurant, the user will now instantly see an overview of how other visitors rated their food or service.
Automated Caller ID and Blocking
Yandex App users on iOS and Android devices can now enable automatic caller ID to identify incoming phone calls and filter unwanted callers. Automated blocking or muting for unsolicited or fraudulent calls is scheduled for release next month.
The new Yandex update streamlines users' search experience, making it easier for them to navigate the online and offline world.