Yandex plans to withdraw Wonder from the App Store as Facebook refuses to restore API access

Yandex plans to withdraw Wonder from the App Store as Facebook refuses to restore API access

Yandex plans to remove its recently-launched app Wonder from the App Store following Facebook’s block on its API access, implemented just hours after it debuted.

Wonder launched six days ago as a US-only, experimental voice-controlled social search app, allowing users to ask questions like “what bars do my friends go to?” and get answers based on Facebook, Foursquare, Instagram and Twitter data. As we noted in our initial coverage, this is exactly how a mobile implementation of Facebook’s Graph Search, which is currently only compatible with desktop browsers, might work.

Facebook moved quickly to block API access, rendering the app largely useless. A new statement from Yandex today explains this further (emphasis ours):

“We discussed the issue with Facebook and it was confirmed that Facebook views the application Wonder as something that violates the Facebook Platform Policies (section I.12) and that the access to Facebook’s Graph API will not be restored.

“According to Section I.12, no data obtained from Facebook can be used in any search engine or directory without the company’s written permission. The reason behind Facebook’s decision to revoke our access to their data appears to be that they do consider Wonder to be a search engine, while our understanding of what it is differs from this view.”

Yandex goes on to explain that as a result of this and because “Wonder’s functioning, in its current state, as well as the quality of user experience it provides, largely depends on the access to Facebook’s Graph API,”  it has decided to put the app “on hold for the time being.” The company has confirmed with us that it intends to withdraw the app, although for the time being a disclaimer has been added to its App Store description, explaining that new users will not be able to sign up.

There is perhaps some hope for the future of the Wonder project. Yandex notes in its statement, “We will be considering partnership opportunities with other social networks and services to offer our users a richer internet experience via Wonder.”

Whether any other network in the US can offer quite the depth and variety of social data that Facebook does is questionable, however, so for now Wonder can be seen as an incredibly brief incursion into the US market for the Russian giant.

Image credit: AFP / Getty Images

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