Hung Truong: The Blog!

Yahoo Guest Speaker: Bradley Horowitz

November 27, 2007 | 2 Minute Read

Today there was a guest talk by one Bradley Horowitz over at the Computer Science building on North Campus. The title, “Innovation and Evolution -How Search, Social Media, and New Ideas can Shape the Next Web,” intrigued me enough to compel me to check it out.

Much of the talk was devoted to Flickr, and how lots of useful information can be extracted from the inherent metadata of tags, traffic, and geodata of the photos on the site. For example, Flickr can make a list of “interesting” photos, figure out correlations between tags and photos (it can semi-distinguish between photos of love between two people, love as a symbol, and love as puppies), and figure out the location of Route 66.

I was vehemently unimpressed by an earlier Yahoo talk this year, but today’s was neat. Probably because the speaker knew what he was talking about. Fun fact: the speaker is VP of the Advanced Development Division at Yahoo. Or ADD. Apparently the name was not an accident. He mentioned quite a few interesting things like their “Brick House” incubator, and a few products of it like Pipes and something called Kickstart.

Kickstart seems to be something of a mix between Facebook and LinkedIn. Or something. I had to sign up for a Yahoo account to use it. Minor tangent: I hate Yahoo because I can’t get the login info for all of my old usernames (because I don’t use them anymore) so whenever I want to use something Yahoo, I have to sign up for a new account. And since Yahoo has so many users, no sane usernames exist anymore. It took me like 30 minutes to come up with escargoal (like a cross between escargot and goal)!

I’m not sure how many social networks Yahoo wants… They’ve got that Yahoo 360, Mash, Kickstart… I guess an alternate strategy to buying Facebook could be diluting the social network market…

But anyway, the talk was pretty cool, though somewhat high level for a crowd of CS kids (and SI kids, I suppose). Where was the talk of computational complexity and algorithms in Flickr!? The talk has at least rewarmed my interest in looking for a Summer internship at Yahoo, possibly in the ADD…