Yahoo Does Google One Better - InformationWeek

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12/21/2005
12:10 PM
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Yahoo Does Google One Better

Some of the biggest companies on the Internet are padding their advantage by investing in applied research. The result could be new technologies that get to market faster than ever before.

Yahoo Inc. is the latest Internet powerhouse to get into the research game. It has tapped Ron Brachman, an artificial-intelligence expert and former research man-ager at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and AT&T Labs, as VP of its worldwide research operations. He will head a new lab in New York and recruit staff for new international labs. Yahoo wants access to talent that isn't on the West Coast, Brachman says.

Yahoo's move follows Google Inc.'s efforts to establish a research base in China and expand its East Coast presence. Last week, Google said it will open an engineering and research center near Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh to work on developing new search software tools. Google, IBM, Microsoft, and Yahoo have been aggressively poaching research talent from one another to ensure ongoing technology development.

"What we want to build is a world-class, deep-thinking research organization in a different kind of company," Brachman says. "We're mov- ing at light speed." Yahoo has also teamed with the University of California, Berkeley, in open- ing a joint research lab in Berkeley. Technology on which Yahoo research-ers will focus includes E-mail systems that respond to readers' intentions as well as senders', and search engines that better understand context and synonyms.

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