Yahoo research goes beyond computing to microeconomics

Yahoo Research has created a department focussed on microeconomics

Yahoo is researching areas such as microeconomics to help it better understand the behaviour of users, or of advertisers in areas such as keyword auctions.

Microeconomics is an area that Yahoo views as fundamental to its business, and Yahoo Research has created a department focused on research in this area, Prabhakar Raghavan, head of research at Yahoo in Sunnyvale, California told reporters in Bangalore on Thursday.

As a billion people use Yahoo services, each with their own divergent motivations, Yahoo needs to understand microeconomics well in order to tailor its services and price them for maximum value to all the participants, including users, advertisers, and the company, Raghavan said.

Yahoo Research has also set up a team of ethnographers, cognitive psychologists and sociologists to research new media experiences that will promote the formation of online communities, Raghavan said.

In the area of computer science, Yahoo Research is working on new middleware technology that will be more relevant to online communities than traditional relational databases. Relational databases are good for running enterprise applications such as payroll and human resources, but they are not good for building applications like friendships and communities, the types of applications that Yahoo is interested in, Raghavan said.

Yahoo is also working on a new generation of task-centric search that will not be keyword based, but will analyse free text descriptions from users, to give them more relevant results than they are currently getting from search engines, Raghavan said. "We have to get much smarter to understand and define the user's intent and deliver to that intent," he added.

The Sunnyvale, California, company is also planning to set up a research lab in India, and is already scouting for staff for the lab. The lab will start to hire researchers in computer science, but may also hire staff trained in the humanities such as economists, sociologists, and ethnographers, depending on their availability.

Yahoo already runs a product development centre in Bangalore, India, which is involved in developing key technologies used by Yahoo. The company did not disclose when its lab in India will be in operation, and how many staff it will hire.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

John Ribeiro

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?