Yahoo has formed a research unit to explore new innovations in search technology, the company said Monday.
The new unit, headed by Yahoo's chief scientist Gary William Flake, is to develop new technologies for improving Web search, including machine learning, data mining and efficient algorithms.
In forming the unit, Yahoo is racing to keep up with search innovations by rival Google in its own research lab. Google's research unit rolled out a desktop searching tool in November and a local search test two months earlier.
Likewise, Microsoft has amassed a research team to develop its own algorithmic search capacity. The software giant hired away former Overture Services chief technical officer Paul Ryan to lead its research.
Flake, who arrived at Yahoo through its purchase of Overture, will help Yahoo develop new search applications from the mass of search technology the company acquired in the past year, thanks to acquisitions of Inktomi and Overture.
Yahoo CEO Terry Semel told investors last week that the company would work in 2004 to develop search applications that take advantage of Yahoo's close relationship to consumers.
Brian Morrissey covers search marketing for DM News.com. To keep up with the latest search marketing news subscribe to our free e-mail weekly newsletter Search Engine Marketing by visiting www.dmnews.com/cgi-bin/newslettersub.cgi .