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Yahoo acquires natural language processing startup SkyPhrase

updated 01:19 pm EST, Mon December 2, 2013

Four-member startup joins Yahoo Labs team for language processing work

Yahoo is continuing its trend of buying companies, and has announced possibly its last acquisition for this year. The search company has confirmed its purchase of SkyPhrase, a startup that is working on processing natural language requests, for an undisclosed amount, with the company's small team of four employees being integrated into the Yahoo Labs team in New York.

The SkyPhrase team is "excited to join Yahoo Labs" and hopes to continue working on a "shared vision of making computers deeply understand people's natural language and intentions," according to a message on the company's website.

SkyPhrase worked on trying to make natural language processing useful by tailoring the technology to specific types of usage, reports TechCrunch. As an example of this, the company has made an app that allowed for those interested in fantasy football to find data more relevant to their team, something which could easily work with Yahoo's existing fantasy sports offering. This narrowly-targeted approach could also be applied to other areas of Yahoo's business, such as in searching through past messages in Yahoo Mail for important details.

Considering Yahoo's earlier purchases of mobile news reader Summly and image recognition startup IQ Engines, the addition of SkyPhrase's natural language processing technology and the extra team members could be an attempt by Yahoo to make finding data and presenting the most important information to the user a priority for the future, as the business continues to rectify itself.

by MacNN Staff



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