Yandex Browser Beta with privacy enhancements published

Martin Brinkmann
May 21, 2015
Updated • Aug 27, 2019

Yandex published a beta version of its minimalist browser today that it first revealed back in 2014.

The interface has not changed much on first glance, but the switch from alpha to beta introduces a new set of privacy enhancements and features in the browser.

One of the bigger changes in the beta version is a new Stealth Mode extension that the browser ships with. The extension is off by default but linked directly in the browser's main toolbar.

Stealth Mode blocks online trackers when enabled. It is not an ad-blocker and works similar to the tracking protection feature that Mozilla plans to integrate into its Firefox browser.

The extension is developed by Adguard, a company best know for its ad-blocking extensions for various browsers.

yandex browser stealth mode

Stealth Mode comes with a set of options of which several are enabled by default. It blocks social widgets and third-party cookies by default for instance, and ships with options to hide the user-agent, IP address and referrer from third parties as well.

Yandex Browser ships with a large number of preinstalled extensions including Adguard, an ad-blocker by the same company, the Web of Trust site reputation tool and a Flash blocker.

All extensions with the exception of the bug reporting extension are off by default.

Another privacy related change is that the browser is not collecting behavioral information on how the browser is being used. The company has created a help page indicating that some features still require the sending of data but provides instructions on how to disable those in the browser.

For instance, crash reporting is enabled by default but can be turned off under Settings > Privacy. The same goes for navigational errors, search and address suggestions, and the browser's phishing and malware protection feature.

The company made additional changes, for instance to the safe browsing technology used by the browser. Instead of sending full urls to Yandex to find out if a site is safe to visit, the browser sends only  a hash to make that check.

The browser displays three search engines on start to the user of which one can be selected to become the default search engine.

Yandex Browser scores almost as well as Google Chrome on HTML5Test with 520 out of 555 points and the Octane Benchmark test.

The final stable version of Yandex Browser can be downloaded for Windows and Mac OS X from the official project website.

Yandex Browser Beta with privacy enhancements published
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Yandex Browser Beta with privacy enhancements published
Yandex has released a public beta version of its minimalist web browser that features several privacy enhancements among other things.
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  1. Robotron 2084 said on July 29, 2019 at 9:47 am

    @Aar Dee, if I had read your comment before trying Yandex, then I would never of done that, as I think your comment is clearly sponsored propaganda, such as when you said:


    Really? ha!

    Regardless, as per your invitation, I am cursing you here for your Russian BS: May you experience 10x the pain that you have inflicted on others.

    But thanks for allowing me to curse you, as otherwise I would not do that, as I tend to obey the rules here to by not attacking other users.

  2. Robotron 2084 said on July 28, 2019 at 11:57 am

    @Martin, just in case you look into Yandex again, don’t bother, unless you want to warn folks about them.

    AFAIK, the browser now requires you to sign up for their service just so you can save bookmarks in the BROWSER. There may be some hidden way to do this, but I gave up, and I’m no idiot with GUI functions.

    As for their service, (email and 10 GB of cloud storage), they allowed me to sign up without a phone number, but within 24 hours of NO use of it, they restricted my account, claiming that they detected suspicious activity such as spam being sent from my account. Then they nagged me for my phone number with polite threats, but I didn’t do that, and they finally lifted the restriction with an email verification. I then tested to see if it works by trying to send an email to another of my emails, but it didn’t work. And then they completely blocked my account, claiming they they think it may have been hacked. Then, they nagged me for my phone number again, and so on, ha.. WTF?!

    As it is, that account is still blocked and I doubt they will return my last email to them.

    Furthermore, I obeyed all their rules and read their user agreement. Also, I had representative saying there are requirements in the user agreement that actually were not there.

    That’s what happened to me, and I see on reddit that I’m not alone.

    Furthermore, their help system in such matters is deceptive, circuitous, and superfluous, designed to pressure users in giving up their phone numbers.. And if you do give then your phone number, then expect to get spammed with robocalls and such.

    This very rather sad, as I had hoped this was a good service, but all I’ve seen so far is bad.

    If they ever get back to me and explain themselves, I’ll update this.

  3. Bianca said on January 1, 2016 at 4:05 am

    Trying to figure out if I should download this browser. Couldn’t find user reviews complaining about it other than it doesn’t offer the privacy it promises. I think I’ll leave it alone for now.

  4. Aar Dee said on August 6, 2015 at 9:17 am

    Yandex is the best browser I have ever used… I used IE, FireFox, Chrome, Opera, Netscape, Safari, Maxthon, Torch, Vivaldi Previews, UC browser, Comodo Dragon, Cool Novo, Epic, Tor browser and many many more..but this one is the best among all.. It gives you speed, Power, flexibility and exquisite design you have ever see in any browser..I wonder why there is no Review of this beautiful Browser.
    1. if you love Chrome browser but dislike its Interface (especially its Tabs design and it’s URL bar with thick Font size)
    2. If you love Synchronization but dislike Opera(the worst) and Firefox(time consuming).
    (Yandex provide Synch on 3 different devices…amazing)
    3. If you don’t like your browsers NEW TAB PAGE. (Yandex provides you fast, reliable and yes the beautiful one.)
    4. If you love Extensions. In Yandex you can download extension of Both Chrome and Opera. (what more you need)
    5. If you love clean and beautiful Interface. (The best Interface)
    6. No browser gives you so clean URL field as this browser provides. It is so Clean and then with great functionality.
    7. erstwhile Opera Turbo is best one in Yandex Browser.
    8. If you love Privacy. (No browser gives you whole privacy not even Mozilla..But Yandex is good to maintain Privacy)
    9. If you are Social Sites addicted. Facebook and Twitter Notification are on you door with Yandex.
    10. If you are not American. (because it is Russian Browser doen’t mean It is not good. It is a Browser and not a Fighter go use it and see the difference.)
    1. Open -> see the URL and you will see the difference (no BAD URL IS THERE….but click on it and find your url)
    2. Click on URL bar and see the difference
    3. Open Foreign language site and see the difference (Automatic translation)
    4. Enable Turbo and see the difference (best feature)
    5. Enable Syncing and see the difference (in love with this)
    6. make Yandex as your dafault engine and see the difference (naive but still go through it)
    7. go to Chrome extensions and see what it do
    8. Click on URL bar and see what happens (copy share and other commands)
    1. No “Tab Preview” like Opera and Mozilla.
    2. There is no Yandex Extension (It uses Chrome and Operas)
    3. No Skin Packages like (Firefox, UC, Maxthon and Chrome)
    4. Update is tough.

    Yandex(simple) and Yandex(Alpha) are different. Yandex Alpha is good in design and Interface but It is 100MB package.

  5. Gabriel said on May 23, 2015 at 6:41 am

    Sorry but this is not a good idea at all.

    1. Daniel said on May 23, 2015 at 2:59 pm

      Not a “good idea”? Why?
      If Yandex can make Chrome better, why not?

      If you can find a way to “autohide” the bottom tabs Martin, please let us know!

      Thank you! :)

      1. Martin Brinkmann said on May 23, 2015 at 3:25 pm

        Select Menu > Advanced > Restart in classic interface.

  6. bob said on May 23, 2015 at 6:20 am

    I can’t play videos on Netflix since Netflix is being a butthole and wont support chrome based browsers. same thing with opera browser

  7. Dwight stegall said on May 23, 2015 at 2:02 am

    Using Yandex now. hahahahahahaha I’ll never stop laughing now. :)

  8. Ilya Geller said on May 22, 2015 at 10:38 pm

    Yandex and all other companies – Google, IBM, Oracle, Microsoft. etc. – establish their technology on the analyze of queries, External to data source of information. Yahoo and others cannot exist without harvesting of queries and connected with them statistics.
    Therefore, Yandex makes cosmetic changes that do not influence the core technology.

    I, however, discovered and patented how to structure any data: Language has its own Internal parsing, indexing and statistics. For instance, there are two sentences:

    a) ‘Sam!’
    b) ‘A loud ringing of one of the bells was followed by the appearance of a
    smart chambermaid in the upper sleeping gallery, who, after tapping at
    one of the doors, and receiving a request from within, called over the
    balustrades -‘Sam!’.’

    Evidently, that the ‘Sam’ has different importance into both sentences, in regard to extra information in both. This distinction is reflected as the phrases, which contain ‘Sam’, weights: the first has 1, the second – 0.08; the greater weight signifies stronger emotional ‘acuteness’.
    First you need to parse obtaining phrases from clauses, restoring omitted words, for sentences and paragraphs.
    Next, you calculate Internal statistics, weights; where the weight refers to the frequency that a phrase occurs in relation to other phrases.
    After that data is indexed by common dictionary, like Webster, and annotated by subtexts.
    This is a small sample of the structured data:
    this – signify – : 333333
    both – are – once : 333333
    confusion – signify – : 333321
    speaking – done – once : 333112
    speaking – was – both : 333109
    place – is – in : 250000
    To see the validity of technology – pick up any sentence.

    Do you have a pencil?

    As I said before, all other technologies depend on spying, on quires, on SQL, all of them on External statistics. My technology is the only one that obtains Internal statistics directly from texts themselves.

    Being structured information will search for users based on their profiles of structured data. Each and every user can get only specifically tailored for him information: there is no any privacy issue, nobody ever will know what the user got and read. (No spam!)

    The Era of Absolute Privacy is coming! No need in queries, cookies or browsing history anymore.

    The technology came from Analytic Philosophy, Internal Relations Theory.

  9. PhoneyVirus said on May 22, 2015 at 9:12 pm

    Using Firefox reading this article gives me a sidebar like I’m on a Smart phone, but the other articles are okay, is it the new browser or WordPress. It happens to me then I open my blog from bookmarks and have no idea how to stop it from thinking its a Smart phone. Help Martin! this is weird.

    Just seen the Desktop version has I posted it lol

  10. Art Ott said on May 22, 2015 at 5:16 pm

    Dumpted Kaspersky and will never use any Russian products until they get out of the Crimea peninsula.

  11. Grabarica said on May 22, 2015 at 3:09 pm

    Excellent browser i use it every day, try it!

    1. Jeff said on May 22, 2015 at 5:47 pm

      found the Russian hacker!

  12. Sigitas M. said on May 22, 2015 at 2:26 pm

    Russian browser for privacy… LOL.
    Nice one Andrew.
    Personally i don’t trust this thing too.

  13. Wybo said on May 22, 2015 at 11:43 am

    Not too fussed about using something owned by Putin’s non democratic, authoritarian clan.
    Same reason why I try to avoid Chinese products which is obviously much more difficult.
    These countries poison all democratic values!.

  14. Andrew said on May 21, 2015 at 10:13 pm

    I wonder how many people are going to be like:

    “A Russian browser for privacy? I don’t trust it, i’m going to stick with Chrome”

    Be kind of funny to read that…

  15. Rick said on May 21, 2015 at 9:55 pm

    Not really concerned about who owns it; I’ll bet Martin’s first born (now that is confidence on my part lol) that Western governments will be picking the browser apart to discover it has any hidden data collection etc going on.

    When we see CNN doing a story on the integrity of browsers along with a world-wide warning not to use certain ones, we will know they found something :)

    But 112M? Google Chrome is 47M. Either someone in Russian hasn’t heard of compression, or there’s alot more in Yandex than meets the eye.

    1. ACow said on May 23, 2015 at 5:37 am

      The browser ships with a bunch of animated backgrounds (movies, more like.) I’m guessing they take up quite a bit of space.

      And, uh, you’re contradicting yourself there, bud. 112MB does apparently “meet the eye.” Otherwise you wouldn’t be asking the question.

  16. Nebulus said on May 21, 2015 at 9:30 pm

    I’m not keen on using a Russian browser no matter how “private” it claims to be, so no thanks.

  17. Boris said on May 21, 2015 at 9:09 pm

    Putin’s browser (He owns Yandex through his closest oligarchs). That not exactly security what I want in a browser.

    1. john_rik said on May 21, 2015 at 10:03 pm

      If I apply your own logic, then USA president controls IE, Google Chrome then?

      1. Andrew said on May 23, 2015 at 6:11 am

        @Boris, I feel bad that you have to choose the “lesser of two evils”

        I prefer to choose ‘neither’ evil, but in your case there are those who make nice subordinates.

      2. Boris said on May 23, 2015 at 6:02 am

        You obviously do not understand concept of backdoors in software and hardware. Without backdoors there is no administrative access. NSA did not have to influence Google or Microsoft, they just hired people from them who were involved in building product to tell them secrets. And anyway, I rather see my own government occasionally snoop on me than make my computer a zombie for Russians. I choose a lesser evil.

      3. Nebulus said on May 22, 2015 at 11:05 pm

        Jeff, that was the “catching up” part I was talking about :)

      4. Jeff said on May 22, 2015 at 5:46 pm

        No, but there’s no doubt whatsoever that the NSA has influenced Google and MS and has back doors into their products.

      5. Nebulus said on May 22, 2015 at 9:03 am

        The logic you apply in countries like Russia (or China) is not the same as the one you apply in the West, even though the West is trying hard to “catch up”…

      6. Boris said on May 22, 2015 at 8:13 am

        US president has some influence of Google/Microsoft but he does not own them, nor he can make them build tracking/spying stuff into browsers. Putin through his people actually owns/has 100% influence on 99% of Russian media and tech companies. You do not realize how much power in this man(Putin) has in Russia and how much stuff he owns there and what he can away with. I grew up in Soviet Union and know a little bit about how this stuff works.

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