Google (NSDQ: GOOG) wants a bigger piece of the Russian search market. Beginning in January, the company will become the default search engine on top Russian portal Mail.ru, according to a statement Mail.Ru put out today (Via TechCrunch). The statement confirmed rumors of an agreement, which first surfaced earlier this month. The deal is significant since Google should now be able to add considerably to the 23 percent of the Russian search market it currently controls. Mail.ru has about 10 percent of the market, while Yandex has about 58 percent.
The deal could be the first among several that Google may make in an attempt to bolster its position in Russia. TechCrunch reported earlier this week that Google was interested in buying ICQ, which is the top IM service Russia. In a bit of a twist, another company said to be interested in ICQ is Digital Sky Technologies, which controls Mail.ru.