Yahoo invests $10 million in personal assistant research

Yahoo is donating $10 million to Carnegie Mellon University’s InMind research project. The project was set up with the aim of developing functionality such as Apple’s Siri and Google Now for mobile devices.

In addition to the amount that Yahoo has made available, the researchers will also have access to technology and data from the internet company, Technology Review reports. The partnership with the university is part of Yahoo’s drive to use the vast amounts of data the company has to improve the user experience of its services.

The researchers will therefore work closely with Yahoo. This is not only about purely scientific research and the development of new applications; existing Yahoo services also need to be improved and expanded within the project. The university’s students and teachers will test the services and applications that will be expanded and developed within the project.

Ron Brachman, the head of Yahoo Labs, says he expects the InMind project to also experiment with technology that allows apps to have a conversation with a user. Brachman was also involved in the Pentagon’s CALO project. The technology that was developed there formed the basis of Siri. He argues that while Siri is impressive, it doesn’t take into account the context in which questions are asked at all.