Yahoo opens new research lab focused on search tech

Company teams up with University of California at Berkeley to work on search, shared media content, metadata

Yahoo will open a new research facility in August in conjunction with the University of California at Berkeley focused on areas that include search technology, shared media content, camera phones and metadata, Yahoo announced Friday.

The facility, called Yahoo Research Labs Berkeley, will be led by professor Marc Davis and will build on research already under way at the university's Garage Cinema Research group, which Davis directs.

A research project at the Garage Cinema Research group, called Mobile Media Metadata 2, is focused on developing technology that can guess who are the likely recipients of media, such as a digital picture, captured with a mobile device, such as a camera phone. The sharing inferences are based on criteria such as the prior sharing history of the user and his community of users, on the time the photo was taken and on the location.

Another project, called Social Uses of Personal Media, explores the non-technical motives for users' technical actions, studying, for example, what a user is trying to accomplish when he e-mails a photo to family members. Reasons might be to construct personal and group memory, creating and maintaining social relationships or self expression. It's essential for technology developers to understanding these "social uses" if they expect to come up with product designs for future applications, the researchers argue.

More information about the work done at the Garage Cinema Research under Davis' direction can be found at