Yandex has just released version 1.0 of its web browser. The 28 Megabyte download is based on Chromium, and thus not the first spin-off that we have seen appear on the scene. The majority of spin-offs on the other hand are not really that different from the default Chromium browser. Some add privacy related features to the browser, while others add features such as mouse gestures or social features to Chromium.
The Yandex browser introduces several new and improved features to Chromium that many Internet users will certainly find useful. One change that becomes apparent immediately is the Tableau feature that is triggered when you click on the new tab icon or use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl-t to open a new tab.
The Yandex browser displays new tab information in an overlay panel instead of opening a blank tab and displaying information such as bookmarks, popular sites and other information on it.
Just like in Opera, the widgets that you see listed on the panel can display dynamic information such as weather reports or notifications.
The browsing security has been improved in the browser as well. Yandex has teamed up with Kaspersky Labs to scan all files downloaded to the local computer system with Kaspersky's latest antivirus engine. The browser in addition uses Yandex SafeBrowsing to protect users from accessing infected web pages instead of Google's SafeBrowsing technology.
Yandex also brokered a deal with Opera to use the company's Turbo technology in the browser. Opera Turbo routes all traffic through a proxy server of sorts where it gets compressed before it is redirected to the local PC. This reduces the size of the data that needs to be transferred to the PC and thus speeds up the time it takes before the website and its contents are displayed on the screen. Turbo does not appear to be active by default, and I could not find an option to activate it in this version of the web browser.
Another difference to Chrome and Chromium are speaking urls that Yandex has built-into its browser. A search for instance displays the domain name and search term in the address bar.
You can still click into it to display the full url, for instance to copy or manipulate it.
The developers have added several interesting features in to the browser that differentiate it from other Chromium-based browsers. Especially the integration of Kaspersky's antivirus engine and Opera Turbo are to be mentioned in this context. You will notice that it is optimized for the Russian market by default, but that can be fixed in the options. It is definitely a browser to keep an eye on.
The Yandex browser is available for Windows and Mac OS X. You can download the latest version from the official project website.