Prabhakar Raghavan

Yahoo: We can have it both ways

February 10, 2010: 7:56 PM ET

The online giant argues new features will win back lost search share

Shashi Seth, Yahoo's SVP of search products, has been on the job just three weeks – and he wants everyone to know Yahoo's still serious about search. Photo: Jon Fortt.

Yahoo brought out its big engineering guns on Wednesday to convince the world that it hasn't given up on search.

The search story has gotten complicated for Yahoo (YHOO) in recent months. Last July CEO Carol Bartz announced a deal to outsource core search technology to Microsoft (MSFT), which looked like an admission of defeat. Assuming the deal passes regulatory muster, Microsoft will take the lead in search technology and spend the billions developing search technology to take on market leader Google (GOOG); Yahoo will sell the ads that appear alongside its search queries.

During a two-hour Yahoo SearchSpeak event at Yahoo headquarters campus led by brand new SVP of Search Products Shashi Seth, some of the company's top engineering minds made the case that Yahoo could still be the most innovative company in search, even after outsourcing it. All Yahoo is giving up, they argued, is the dirty work of indexing pages – and pages matter less and less these days, when users are looking for things like video, streaming music, and location information. More

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