Yahoo has announced that they have acquired natural language processing company SkyPhrase.  The acquisition appears to include not just include the technology but also the talent, as Yahoo has revealed in a blog post that it is “exited to welcome” the team of four from SkyPhrase. The SkyPhrase team have built an “amazing natural language processing” technology and they will be joining the Yahoo Labs team in New York.


In a post on its website, SkyPhrase said it believed online information and services would be more powerful if they used natural language, and the technology it has developed will enable computers to do just that – understand more complex and precise human language.

“We are excited to join Yahoo Labs to continue to work on our shared vision of making computers deeply understand people’s natural language and intentions,” the company added.

It has been reported that SkyPhrase’s technology is similar to Apple’s Siri or Wolfram Alpha and that the company had also worked on two applications; one app looked up fantasy football stats and the other integrated with Google Analytics.

Forbes reported that SkyPhrase’s technology is apparently more advanced than Siri and will work with both Twitter and Gmail, enabling users to search for and receive tailored results when speaking phrases containing multiple variables, such as saying,  “Show me tweets from Lisa Eldridge with pictures” or “Show me emails Stuart sent over the weekend with attachments”.

This acquisition is an indication that Yahoo sees voice search as a thing of the future – an idea that has been clearly seen by Google. The Internet giant has been pushing its Google Now voice search service over the previous year and it has even hinted that voice search is where Internet browsing is going to be heading in the not so distant future.

We can speculate all we like, but Yahoo has not specifically detailed what SkyPhrase will be actually doing under the guise of the Yahoo Labs research team.

[Image via begeek]