Yandex Provides Tool to Battle Robots

Messages e-mailed by robots account for 90 percent of current daily traffic in Russia, squeezing out those written by real people, which stood at 65 percent of the total in 2000 and is now down to 10 percent, experts said at a Yandex news conference on Thursday.

Out of 138 million messages that go through Yandex mail servers daily, only 14 million are typed by people. The rest are sent automatically by news services (48 million), social networks (27 million), Internet shops (1 million), airline reservation systems (0.2 million) and others.

While e-mail content continues to change, there has not been any major improvement in software that is designed to process these e-mails. Apart from filtering, forwarding and weeding for spam, there has been little advancement to help people manage their messages.

This week Yandex added new functionality to its free webmail service, used by 40 percent of local Internet users, to display e-mail content differently, depending on its type.

The new technology, which is called Marker, is able to identify 15 types of correspondence, including private correspondence, notifications from social networks and Internet stores, electronic tickets, mailings about discounts, and offer the recipient appropriate tools to work with it. It is a self-learning mechanism based on MatrixNet, a fact extraction technology for retrieving key information from text.

"People normally take note of an important message or carry out some kind of action — print out an electronic ticket, or record a booking number. Our new concept is to give people tools that will allow them to quickly perform these tasks directly within Yandex.mail," Anton Zabannykh, head of personal communication services at Yandex, said Thursday.

For example, the system is capable of recognizing a flight reservation message. As well as displaying the actual content of the message, the new service is capable of creating a calendar entry with SMS alerts without exiting the mail program. Yandex said its solution would automatically push the message to the top of the page a day before the flight, and include links for online registration.

Contact the author at g.moukine@imedia.ru

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