Yahoo Picks Up Natural Language Processing Startup SkyPhrase

Yahoo announced it has acquired SkyPhrase, a four-person startup that develops natural language processing technology. SkyPhrase will join the Yahoo Labs team in New York and will help with Yahoo’s efforts in content delivery for mobile users, who are becoming more accustomed to devices that respond to conversational queries. SkyPhrase’s NLP technology is expected to be used for fantasy sports and other areas that rely on queries involving complex data sets.

“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,” notes the SkyPhrase homepage. “We can’t wait to take things to the next level together.”

TechCrunch suggests that SkyPhrase’s “NLP tech could be used to advance fantasy sports, which is of course an area where Yahoo excels and has a considerable investment already. The company has created an app that makes it easy for fantasy football players to search through stats and find only those relevant to making picks and monitoring their team, which would be very handy integrated directly into Yahoo’s fantasy sports products.”

When TechCrunch spoke with SkyPhrase founder and CEO Nick Cassimatis in October, the company was looking to make NLP tech useful to a global audience by making it easy for everyday users to access, and encouraging third-party partners to develop NLP interfaces for products, data and services.

The SkyPhrase team will now likely be more focused on improving Yahoo products.

According to TechCrunch, “it’s already been able to include building queries that provide custom notifications whenever a certain action is triggered, such as when a certain player scores a touchdown, which is directly applicable to Yahoo’s fantasy sports products as mentioned above, but it can also be used to conduct similar types of queries around complex data sets like website analytics.”