Rumor has it that Russia is developing a new search engine called Sputnik which intends to dominate the Russian market. Since the search engine is said to be state controlled, the government will essentially be able to control the kind of information it wants people to have access to. Apparently state owned telecommunications group Rostelecom is developing Sputnik, which has been named after the Sputnik satellite. The report comes from Russia’s Vedomosti newspaper. Even if Sputnik doesn’t see mass adoption within the people, there’s a possibility that it might become the default search engine that government officials in Russia use.
The rise to domination over the search market won’t be an easy task for Sputnik. Local search engine Yandex already commands 62 percent of the search market, the rest is looked after by other companies, Google too holds a substantial market share. Analyst Ivan Kim of VTB believes that this project is beyond the skill set of Rostelecom, which is primarily involved in the telecoms service business. He believes that “the venture is unlikely to meet with success.” He also believes that this project was imposed upon Rostelecom and may result in money going down the drain, $20 million has reportedly been spent so far on Sputnik. The search engine is said to have indexed half of the Russian internet, it will apparently be launched in the first quarter of 2014.