"Sputnik" and the failure

The search engine created by "Rostelecom" and costing billions of rubles, never found its users. However, the project could be saved by "Yarovaya's pack". 
In April 2014, Vladimir Putin first announced his later widely quoted thesis that the global network of the Internet emerged and developed as a special project of the CIA.

Not surprisingly, the president continued, and that the main Russian search engine "Yandex" is still exposed to Western influence. "But they, too, because at the time when they were just beginning to work, they, too, succumbing: they must have so many Americans, so many Europeans in the governing bodies, remember? And they were forced to agree with that. " This episode in the history of the Russian IT-companies find difficult, but the idea of ​​state control over the delivery of information at that time were studied for a long time (according to some reports, since the conflict in Georgia in 2008) and were very much in demand in power.

A month after these words, the president, in May 2014, the structure of "Rostelecom" launched in beta mode "safe" search engine "Sputnik", focused on public services, and content filtering. The stated mission of "Sputnik" - to facilitate the Russians, in the Numberse live in small settlements, access to the Internet, protected from the "destructive effects" and "false information." "On request" schoolgirl »sputnik.ru must find girls in neat white aprons, and not that other search engines give out today," - said vice-president of "Rostelecom" Alexey Basov, introducing a new site. He stressed the ambition of the project, saying that the problem of "Sputnik" - for 4 years to get into the top 10 most visited resources Runet, using exclusively market methods, and not an administrative resource. Monetization of the project was planned to begin within a year. At the same time compete directly with industry giants - Google and "Yandex" - "Sputnik" like as not going rate was made on the uniqueness of the product.

Running a search engine (do project managers prefer to call it a search-service portal), accompanied by the noise in the media, and active discussions in social networks, so that on the first day it was visited by more than half a million people: the server for some time fallen under load. After lyubopyWhich, to the outlandish novelty subsided, site traffic has returned to near-zero mark: 100 days after the start the audience "Sputnik" was reduced by 90%. Positioning as a special portal for family and children's audience, as well as for the elderly and active users of public services has not worked. Traffic continued to plummet; reached the point that in August 2015 on the public procurement website a tender for a total of 10 million rubles for the "increase in product user base," located on the "satellite". Analysis of the company could not provide data on attendance of a site: search engine audience was so small that it did not get to sample them (according to the service "Rating Mail.ru», for July 2016 the site was visited 18.2 thousand users, the proportion of the portal search engine on the market It was about 0.01%). According to estimates CNews, that same month, the average daily number of user clicks on the search results on "Sputnik" was 4.1 thousand. The market leaders - "Yandex" and Google the Russian version - the figures are 74.2 and 49.7 million crossingsrespectively.

In February 2015, "Sputnik" released its own mobile browser, designed for the same target group of users, and the search engine. In addition to standard browser functions, it supports the "child mode", easy access to useful services and its own security system. In the autumn of the same year published version of the browser for the PC, developed on the «Chromium» kernel (the technology is owned by Google and used on Chrome, Opera, Yandex Browser and in other programs). Due to what the product "satellite" could oust the same Chrome or any other popular browser in Russia, it remains a mystery (the most prominent feature of his was the widget with the hot water off schedule). However, one assumption is still possible to push. In May 2016 the browser "Sputnik" was entered in the register of domestic software created as part of a three-year plan for the transition of Russian ministries and departments in the domestic software. The law, which came into force earlier this year, prohibits state agencies to purchase foreign software in the presence of domestic counterparts in the registry.

Billions unknown whose money

Ltd. "Sputnik", to develop a search engine and browser to 74.99% owned subsidiaries of "Rostelecom", "RTComm.RU" and "Rostelecom International Limited". The remaining 25% of the company owned by minority shareholders Vyacheslav Mines and Vasily Vasin. "Rostelecom" itself belongs to the state by 51%. According to calculations based on the analysis of public procurement data, "Rostelecom" in the last 3 years spent on development and maintenance of "Sputnik" for more than 2 billion rubles. In this spring of 2013, even before the official launch of the search engine, the media reported on the investments in the amount of $ 15-20 million in active development, ie one and a half - two years before. Any official information on this subject is absent, so the real cost of the project can only guess. The Times, for example, recently called "Sputnik" "failure of 25 million pounds." However, according to representatives of "Rostelecom", Russian taxpayers may not have to worry, "Sputnik" was developed and operates on privatee money "Rostelecom" - said Alexey Basov in an interview with "Bill". - This is quite a commercial project. " Confirm this information failed: the question about the source of funding, "Satellite", "Novaya Gazeta" no answer in "Rostelecom", nor in the press service of the search engine.

In response to widespread criticism related to the performance of search engine failures in "Rostelecom" say that to compare "Sputnik" from Google properly. According to Basov, it is not the usual "universal" search engine - it is designed to address the "utilitarian tasks." It's about the fact that "Sputnik" is equipped with a "socially important" services: for example, it helps to quickly find a cure for the best prices, and using the "My Home", you can find out the name of your management company or the name of the district. As told to "New" company representatives, at the moment the system is used when searching the portal of public services, and work is underway on the implementation of the search "Sputnik" in the structure of the portal of "Rostelecom» RT.ru.

"Sputnik" dismantledinto parts

For the first time after starting the search platform "Sputnik" leadership refused to lay out their own data on the attendance of the resource, since "at this stage of the project of this information is difficult to draw any conclusions." Then, against the backdrop of the economic crisis and low popularity of the product, the project managers decided to go for a change of business model. In June of this year in "Rostelecom" press service reported that the "Sputnik" is planning to focus on working with B2B and B2G - that is, by creating custom services to shift to products for enterprise organizations and government agencies. According to sources of the newspaper "Izvestia", in connection with the optimization and the search for a new economic model for the 6 months the company has left about a third of developers and food service managers. Change the vector visible and recent projects, publicly unannounced "satellite": it is a web browser with built-in cryptographic encryption system and attendance counters sites. Both products are designed for the use of officersor civil servants. "Rostelecom" plans to invest in a secure instant messenger for domestic officials, whose development from scratch, according to various estimates, could cost up to $ 5 million.

Other investment of the state operator - paid mobile app for calls and messaging "Alla", which aims to become "the second version of the phone home" (2 years ago the cost of service development was estimated at 73 million rubles).

"Sputnik" in the future may lose the status of an independent product, becoming a component of a larger project. For example, a possible scenario is the use of search engine technology as a tool for the promotion of "Rostelecom" products. "Satellite" is the technological center of "Rostelecom" in the field of big data, being engaged in the integration of solutions for the processing and analysis of large data in order to improve the efficiency of the company's business ", - told the" New "in the press service of the search engine. In 2015, a pilot project with a view to "services and services targeted offers dedicated tuppam subscribers "" Rostelecom ", which is Russia's largest operator of broadband Internet access.

Infrastructure "Sputnik" can be useful in the implementation of the acclaimed "Spring Package", under which the telecom operators and Internet service providers with the July 1, 2018 will be required up to six months to keep all the traffic of their clients. According to "Vedomosti", in one of the meetings of the government representatives of "Rostelecom" offered to create a data storage system using its own facilities (in other words, "satellite" facilities, which now stores user data from social networks). Also at the state corporation "Rostec" claims the status of a single operator data storage services. The decision as to who will get a new "fat" the contract and whether it will set up a single operator, will depend on the further requirements that are put forward to contractors FSB.