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Yandex Points to Central Asian Internet Growth

yanesThe Russian search engine giant Yandex NV(NASDAQ:$YNDX) recently surprised Wall Street by revealing that it has surpassed Microsoft’s (NASDAQ:$MSFT) Bing to become the fourth biggest search engine in the world in terms of number of searches according to ComScore’s 2012 data. A total of 4.6 billion searches were conducted on Yandex in November and 4.8 billion in December as opposed to Bing’s 4.5 billion searches in each of those months. However, this says more about the relative popularity of Microsoft’s sites than it does about changes within in the search business.  Ultimately this is good news for the growth of Russian internet usage and Yandex itself but Bing’s inability to truly grab market share from Google (NASDAQ:$GOOG) and Baidu (NASDAQ:$BIDU) is a separate issue entirely.

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The Eternal Search for the Right Facebook Ad

fb_icon_325x325Facebook (NASDAQ:$FB) is by far the biggest social network in the world in terms of active users. However, is an enormous user base a guarantee for a rising stock price and satisfied stakeholders? Ultimately, as a public company it has to be. Unfortunately the IPO of the Century is infamous for all the wrong reasons highlighting the difference between potential and reality. Facebook has made repeated attempts to transform its billion users into billions of advertising dollars to justify its very rich premium, while at the same time not chasing users away.   I still don’ think they have succeeded and may never do so.

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Alliances in China’s Search Engine Wars Being Made

baidu-100031709-galleryBaidu (NASDAQ:$BIDU), the largest Chinese search engine, is reportedly working on developing a new image search feature which will be able to recognize facial appearance, similar to what Google’s (NASDAQ:$GOOG) “Find My Face” does in Google+.  Baidu’s users will be able to upload an image of any popular person or a celebrity and the search engine will find other images from the internet of that person. In essence, users can search through images or URLs instead of the traditional textual input.  While this is a great feature for Baidu to have developed in case China’s government and Google ever kiss and make up, Baidu is feeling the heat of competition from behind the Great Firewall.

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Peter Pham is an author, international fund manager, and a registered financial director by the Cayman Monetary Authority (CIMA). In 2013 he published his first book entitled, The Big Trade: Simple Strategies for Maximum Market Returns. He currently manages the portfolio of a global hedge fund and runs an asset management company, Phoenix Capital.  (read more)

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