Like many folks, I’ve assumed that Yahoo’s partnership with Bing–assuming it is approved–offers the best chance of validating CEO Carol Bartz’s claim that Yahoo has “never been a search company“. She may not be able to change the past, but she certainly is making up for lost time. To be clear, I agree with her 100% that Yahoo should have accepted Microsoft’s $40B acquisition offer last year–in her words, “Sure, do you think I’m stupid?” But I’m still struggling to understand the rationale behind the deal Yahoo did accept.
In any case, Yahoo researchers haven’t stopped thinking about search. As Jeff Dalton reports, Yahoo recently issued a press release about its Key Scientific Challenges Summit. Jeff was kind enough to post Henry Feild’s notes about the presentations by Andrew Tomkins on search and by Sathiya Keerthi Selvaraj on machine learning. I’d love to hear more detail about how they perceive (and hope to address) the search challenges of optimizing task-aware relevance and measuring / predicting generating user engagement.
Regardless of Yahoo’s fate, I’m certainly glad that there are still people at Yahoo working on these big problems. I hope they find a way to develop solutions and bring those solutions to the users who need them.