yahooDerrick Harris of GigaOM reports, “When it comes to the future of web content… Yahoo might just have the inside track on innovation. I spoke recently with Ron Brachman, the head of Yahoo Labs, who’s now managing a team of 250 (and growing) researchers around the world. They’re experts in fields such as computational advertising, personalization and human-computer interaction, and they’re all focused on the company’s driving mission of putting the right content in front of the right people at the right time. However, Yahoo Labs’ biggest focus appears to be on machine learning, a discipline that can easily touch nearly every part of a data-driven company like Yahoo. Labs now has a dedicated machine learning group based in New York; some are working on what Brachman calls ‘hardcore science and some theory,’ while others are building a platform that will open up machine learning capabilities across Yahoo’s employee base.”

Harris continues, “There’s also a related data science group, also in New York, that’s doing more applied research with product teams, “and we’ve hired machine learning scientists into almost every other group we have,” Brachman said. They’re working on everything from advertising to data centers, from social-graph analysis to network security. But advertising is what pays the bills at Yahoo, and if there’s nobody to view the content, there’s nobody to see the ads. That’s why a lot of machine learning research is focused on making it easier for Yahoo’s users to get what they need. That means making images and videos as searchable as web pages, and making everything more searchable using natural language.”

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Image: Courtesy Yahoo Labs