Yandex N.V.YNDX recently launched a new smart speaker aimed at the Russian-speaking market. This move is a major expansion to the Yandex intelligent assistant ecosystem. The company also introduced its new subscription package and skills platform.
Per Reuters, Yandex.Station speaker is integrated with the company's intelligent assistant, Alice. The integration will help users manage a range of tasks easily with the help of advanced machine learning technology. Yandex launched Alice in October 2017.
Yandex.Station's distinguishing feature includes a HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface) port, with which, a user can stream films and videos in addition to music. As of now, Yandex.Station provides access to Yandex's video streaming service, KinoPoisk, along with other local service providers such as ivi and Amediateka.
New Speaker to Aid Alice's Adoption
Notably, Alice was introduced as the first Russian-speaking intelligent assistant, which integrates multiple services with one centralized tool. It uses deep neural network technology and large databases to converse using natural language.
The company noted that Alice's responses are based on dynamic data collected from its users unlike its competitors' intelligent assistants, which depend more on scripted responses.
Per Telegraph, Alice was also found responding positive to violence like few other intelligent assistants.
Alice is already available on mobile, desktop and cars-navigation app. Plus, it combines many Yandex services such as Search, News, Weather, Music, Maps and Taxi. The service also offers more than a dozen games.
Subscription Package to Boost User Base
Yandex's subscription package, Yandex.Plus, is a service similar to Amazon's AMZN Prime. Priced at $2.75 per month, it is expected to improve customer experience by offering specialized services.
Yandex has also come up with Yandex.Dialogue, which allows third-party app developers add new skills to Alice. The intelligent assistant can also be empowered to create a custom live-chat feature through Yandex.Dialogue, which aids in enhancing customer experience.
The product launch comes at a time when the company is diversifying its core search engine business as well as its artificial intelligence (AI) based products. Notably, other competitors like Alphabet GOOGL , Amazon and Apple AAPL haven't yet explored the Russian market, lending Yandex a significant edge in turn.
Search and Portal continues to be the bread and butter of Yandex. The segment's (83% of total revenues) revenues increased 19% from the year-ago quarter to 22.3 million roubles in the first quarter. Yandex's market share for the search engine was at 56.5%, up 160 basis points (bps) from the prior-year period.
For fiscal 2018, Yandex expects Search and Portal revenues to grow in the range of 19-21%.
Yandex N.V. Price and Consensus
Currently, Yandex has a Zacks Rank #5 (Strong Sell).
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