Feeds

Yahoo! chief! scientist! joins! Microsoft!

Redmond hires Flake

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Microsoft has hired Yahoo's head of research and chief scientist Gary Flake to work on its MSN portal and desktop search. Flake joined Yahoo! when it acquired Overture in 2003. He wasn't there long, joining the previous year from NEC research, and most of Overture's key patents were filed before his arrival.

However, as Overture's 'chief science officer, he oversaw the growth of the company's pioneering text classified ad business that was responsible for Overture's, and later Yahoo!'s phenomenal growth.

Overture sued Google for patent violation in 2002, and Yahoo! inherited the litigation. Google settled in Yahoo!'s favor for north of $200 million last year, plus Class A voting stock, and agreed to license Yahoo's technology.

MSN itself will retain Overture as its text ad partner until June next year, although it has made no secret of its intentions to roll its own service.

Flake is the author of The Computational Beauty of Nature [MIT Press], subtitled Computer Explorations of Fractals, Chaos, Complex Systems, and Adaptation, and he can wax lyrical about the "the profoundly fractal nature of the Web".

So don't send us jokes about him being aptly named, please.

In stark contrast to some of his peers, Flake recently reminded us that "data is not information; information is not knowledge; knowledge is not wisdom." Asked by Gary Price if the internet would replace librarians, he replied,

"Search engines can give you more data than you'll ever need, and a lot of valuable information as well, but they aren't even in the running when it comes to knowledge and wisdom."

Amen to that. ®

Bootnote: According to Microsoft search program manager Oshoma Momoh, Flake is the first "Distinguished Engineer" to be recruited from outside the company, which makes you wonder why Chuck Thacker, Dave Cutler, Gordon Bell or Jim Gray - all most distinguished engineers - did not to deserve a similar title. Maybe the soubriquet isn't awarded to DEC veterans. Or maybe they don't need the title inflation.

Related stories

Google and Yahoo! accused of click fraud collusion
Microsoft does paid-for searches
Ad confidence spurs Yahoo!
MSN signs up Overture for another year
AOL Europe dumps Overture, plumps Google
Sauce settlement sours Google results
Google! Licenses! Yahoo's! Secret! Sauce!

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Kate Bush: Don't make me HAVE CONTACT with your iPHONE
Can't face sea of wobbling fondle implements. What happened to lighters, eh?
Video of US journalist 'beheading' pulled from social media
Yanked footage featured British-accented attacker and US journo James Foley
Caught red-handed: UK cops, PCSOs, specials behaving badly… on social media
No Mr Fuzz, don't ask a crime victim to be your pal on Facebook
Ballmer leaves Microsoft board to spend more time with his b-balls
From Clippy to Clippers: Hi, I see you're running an NBA team now ...
Online tat bazaar eBay coughs to YET ANOTHER outage
Web-based flea market struck dumb by size and scale of fail
Amazon takes swipe at PayPal, Square with card reader for mobes
Etailer plans to undercut rivals with low transaction fee offer
Assange™: Hey world, I'M STILL HERE, ignore that Snowden guy
Press conference: ME ME ME ME ME ME ME (cont'd pg 94)
Call of Duty daddy considers launching own movie studio
Activision Blizzard might like quality control of a CoD film
US regulators OK sale of IBM's x86 server biz to Lenovo
Now all that remains is for gov't offices to ban the boxes
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.