WSJ has a front page story on their effort to build strong team of academicians.
The article says:
Yahoo was blindsided by Google’s sophisticated Web search. One of Yahoo’s advertising-sales techniques also underperforms its rival’s, and when Yahoo said last month that a revamp would be delayed, the company’s stock fell 22%, its largest-ever one-day drop. Despite having one of the world’s biggest user bases, Yahoo hasn’t fully benefited from hot phenomena such as online video and social networking, a service offered by sites such as MySpace.com.
The research push, “has huge consequences for the business if we do things right,” says Usama Fayyad, Yahoo’s chief data officer.
Amazing how things always remain the same. Google made good on advertisement by coming up (or using) a novel model efficiently and now everybody thinks that there is only one way to be successful — by mining user data to understand what they may be looking. Clearly that is good, but now that is an old trick that needs to be only refined and made efficient. So by spending lots of efforts on that, Yahoo will only be playing catch-up game.
Social networking definitely seems an area where Google does not, at least at this time, have an edge over them.
This article referes to Video. And lately that is a hot area. Yahoo brought in Bradley Horowitz who has strong background in that area and was the CTO (and co-founder) at Virage. It seems, however, that Mr. Horowitz is doing everything but Video.
I think agility and innovation are more important that rigorous research. I The famous quote from a top academician (Albert Einstein) says it the best: “Imagination is more important than Knowledge.”