Taking its data and going home: Facebook action forces Yandex to shut down mobile app

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Russian search engine Yandex shut down its social search app Wonder today. Why? Because Facebook’s data is worth that much.

Facebook’s data is a rich pool of information that, when used appropriately, could create some really interesting products outside advertising. Yandex showed us that when it launched Wonder last week. But Facebook doesn’t allow anyone to use its data to “replicate” its own features or provide obvious ways to share back to the social network, so Wonder is being taken off the table.

“Wonder’s functioning, in its current state, as well as the quality of user experience it provides, largely depends on the access to Facebook’s Graph API,” a Yandex spokesperson told VentureBeat in an email. “Since this access was revoked, we decided to put our application on hold for the time being.”

Yandex launched Wonder last week, calling it an experimental product. The app used voice-to-text software from Nuance to allow anyone to ask natural language questions out loud and receive answers on their phone. Answers were based on data from Facebook, Foursquare, Instagram, and Twitter, but the app only served questions related to places, news, and music at its launch. In order to protect itself from Facebook, the company explained that it does not consider itself a search engine and thus it is not in violation of Facebook’s platform policies. Facebook didn’t agree.

“We discussed the issue with Facebook, and it was confirmed that Facebook views the application Wonder as something that violates the Facebook Platform Policies (section I.12) and that the access to Facebook’s Graph API will not be restored,” Yandex said.
Zuckerberg and data image via Jolie O’Dell

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