Yahoo Buying Spree Continues: SkyPhrase Next to Join the Fold

By Steve Anderson December 02, 2013

Yahoo has been on a positive tear these last few months, making several new acquisitions—Bread, Lookflow, Hitpost, and several others—and bringing in quite a bit of new technology. But perhaps the most recent such purchase has some particularly impressive implications for Yahoo, and for both its users and those who aren't yet, but may well want to be once this gets fully rolling.

SkyPhrase deals in natural language processing, or the systems by which normal, everyday people talk becomes machine language that devices can both understand and work with. While the value of the deal hasn't really been discussed, it has been revealed that SkyPhrase will join Yahoo at the New York office, and will continue to work toward developing natural language processing tools that can understand progressively more complex human speech. More specifically, SkyPhrase said on a blog post: “We are excited to join Yahoo Labs to continue to work on our shared vision of making computers deeply understand people's natural language and intentions. We can’t wait to take things to the next level together.”

Where the idea of SkyPhrase and Yahoo together becomes particularly interesting, however, is when one considers the range of services that Yahoo already offers, and how these services could interact with and benefit from natural language processing. For instance, some have noted that such technology would be useful with fantasy football, a field where Yahoo has previously been seen heavily investing. With natural language processing, users would be better able to search for relevant statistics to help build a roster, and further points can be offered like allowing for customized notifications for when certain actions are triggered, like if a player involved in a fantasy football roster scores a touchdown. Naturally it goes beyond that; Yahoo also has an entire search engine on hand, and if natural language processing can be better put to work there, it may prove a search engine to rival Google properly.

Beyond the specifics, however, a general theme starts to reveal itself: Yahoo seems to be increasingly eager to harness the global growth of the mobile device market, bringing faster, shorter content and quicker, easier interactions to a wider range of Yahoo's services. That could be the kind of combination that Yahoo needs to reassert itself in the wake of some fairly substantial setbacks over the last few years.

The critical point to take away here, however, is that Yahoo is clearly not taking Google's dominance lying down. With several new acquisitions in the making, an entirely new platform to work from in mobile devices, and several key offerings already operational and doing wonders, Yahoo has plenty of room to assert itself as a major, successful portion of the Internet as we know it. Just where Yahoo goes with all this isn't quite clear yet, but there are certainly promising enough directions in which to strike out. Any one of these might bring in the next big thing, so it's certainly one to watch in the near-term.

Edited by Ryan Sartor

Contributing TechZone360 Writer

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