Yandex partners with AlterGeo for improved location-based search

[Russia] Yandex, Russia’s leading search engine, has signed a contract with AlterGeo – a hybrid positioning startup – to use its technology to add location-based features to the company’s maps and toolbar web applications.

AlterGeo technology aggregates GSM Cell-ID, Wi-Fi and WiMax to retrieve a user’s location. The traditional mobile triangulation with poor accuracy of a few hundred meters is adjusted with Wi-Fi to increase this to 30-150 meters. The accuracy of WiMax is not specified by the company, but due to its high popularity and almost 100% coverage in Moscow and St. Petersburg, the solution could be very promising.

Using AlterGeo technology Yandex will be able to provide location-adjusted searches such as a tracking pizzeria or shop nearby with its popular mapping service.

AlterGeo will continue to develop its own location-based social service. Currently Windows and Mac OSX desktop applications are provided and an iPhone application is also available. AlterGeo mobile’s service shares features with the likes of Fourquare and Gowalla, such as the ability to “check-in” and user ratings based on activity. Additionally and probably most interesting, AlterGeo provides an augmented reality service available through its iPhone app that will show both places and users, visually displaying the distance between them.