Bradley Horowitz

VP, Yahoo! Product Stategy Group

Opening Up Yahoo!
24 minutes, 11.1mb, recorded 2006-06-23
Bradley Horowitz

Every so often, Yahoo! will organize what they call a Hack Day, a concept they borrowed from startups. On this day, all the developers of the company will stop whatever they're doing and get into an American Idol like competition to develop the wildest and coolest of apps they can imagine. This is a part of a phenomenon called Hack Yahoo!, an initiative of the Technology Development Group at Yahoo! with the motto, "mesh up, or shut up!".

Yahoo! is transitioning from being a closed-doors ecosystem to an open, developer-friendly, community-based company. It is breaking down the pyramid by eliminating differences between the minority of people - the apex of the pyramid - who create and deliver content, and the bottom of the pyramid - the majority of people who consume the content. Understanding the motivations behind online communalism, the company is exposing their data through their API for various products such as Flickr, delicious, MyWeb, Yahoo! Answers and Upcoming. Many of its executives are beginning to blog. So, why has Yahoo! decided to open up?

When you're looking for a reliable plumber in your neighborhood, you care more about the advice you'll get from a local than the results from the page ranking system. When you want to decide what movie to watch, you're going to want to ask your friends, rather than try keyword search. This is a phenomenon called Social Search. How does the opening up of Yahoo! apply to what the company is doing in the area of search? How has search itself evolved over time? What is Social Search? In this address, Bradley Horowitz of Yahoo! revisits the history of search on the Web, from directory-based search to automated search involving crawlers and spiders, to Google's page ranking system, and now the new concept of Social Search.

Bradley Horowitz, vice president of Yahoo!'s product strategy group, leads Yahoo!'s efforts in building innovative products and technologies across the company. Horowitz is driving innovation and leveraging Yahoo!'s platform to deliver compelling Yahoo! products and services to its users. In addition, he is responsible for the company's initiative to open up its platform which includes overseeing the Yahoo! Developer Network (Y!DN). Previously, he managed a portfolio of popular products for Yahoo!. Prior to joining Yahoo!, Horowitz founded and then served as both the CTO and the VP of engineering for the Virage division of Autonomy. Horowitz was a PhD candidate at the MIT Media Lab. Horowitz holds an MS in Media Science from MIT and a BS in Computer Science from the University of Michigan.


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