These are my notes on the From the Labs: Yahoo! Research Labs session by Gary William Flake.
Yahoo! has two research sites, Yahoo! Next and Yahoo! Research Labs. The Yahoo! Next site has links to betas of products that will eventually become products such as Y!Q contextual search, a Firefox version of the Yahoo! toolbar and Yahoo! movie recommendations.
The Yahoo! research team focuses on a number of core research areas areas including machine learning, collective intelligence, and text mining. They publish papers frequently related to these topics.
Their current primary research project is the Tech Buzz Game which is a fantasy prediction market for high-tech products, concepts, and trends. This is in the same vein as other fantasy prediction markets such as the Hollywood Stock Exchange and the Iowa Electronics Market. The project is being worked in in collaboration with O'Reilly Publishing. A product's buzz is a function of the volume of search queries for that term. People who constantly predict correctly can win more virtual money which they can use to bet more. The name of this kind of market is a dynamic peri-mutuel market.
The speaker felt Tech Buzz would revolutionize the way auctions were done. This seemed to be a very bold claim given that I'd never heard of it. Then again it isn't like I'm auction geek.