Yahoo buys natural language-processing startup

|By:, SA News Editor

Yahoo (YHOO) has bought SkyPhrase, a developer of natural language-processing technology focused on Web analytics and statistical analysis. SkyPhrase says its team will aid the Yahoo Labs R&D unit in "making computers deeply understand people's natural language and intentions."

One of the test apps developed by SkyPhrase allowed users to do natural language searches related to fantasy football stats. That suggests Yahoo might apply the startup's technology to its very popular stable of fantasy sports services. The other app focused on natural language searches for Web traffic data. created by Google Analytics.

SkyPhrase might also complement the technology Yahoo acquired from Summly, whose news summarization algorithm also attempts to decipher the meaning behind human language.

Google, Apple, Intel, Microsoft, Facebook, Nuance, and Amazon have also been making investments in natural language processing.