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Yahoo focuses on research

Net giant turns its attention to innovation in search, seeking to snag a piece of the market from top dog Google.

Yahoo doesn't want Google to get all the acclaim as the hotbed of innovation on the Web.

The Internet giant on Tuesday said it is expanding the work of Yahoo Research Labs and named its chief data officer, Usama Fayyad, as the new head of the group.

Usama Fayyad
Usama Fayyad

Yahoo's lab will be developed into a center for innovation with scientists from all over the world, the company said. The lab will tackle scientific problems in search and information navigation, personalization and mobility, Yahoo said. It also will work on designing algorithms to support new technologies.

Fayyad, who earlier worked on data mining technology at NASA, joined Yahoo late last year.

Google has been a pacesetter among search companies, standing out for its cutting-edge technology and ambitious efforts. It also has billed itself as a place where brainy tech professionals will simultaneously find challenging work and change the world.

But the search market is witnessing intense competition among top players, as Yahoo, Microsoft and seek to get a leg up.

Microsoft, for instance, Gary Flake, a principal scientist at Yahoo Research Labs and former head of research in its Overture Services division.

Yahoo said its research lab is key to its ability to get ahead in the search race, and that it has already contributed to such services as Yahoo Search, Yahoo Mail and HotJobs.

"We will continue to build on that success globally as we focus on discovering new technologies to enhance our products and services that ultimately benefit our users," Farzad Nazem, chief technology officer at Yahoo, said in a statement.