ETech: Yahoo R&D
Gary Flake of Yahoo R&D spoke about three initiatives.
next.yahoo.com lists pre-beta projects that Yahoo! believes can become products. Things like Yahoo Search Developers's Network, Y!Q, Farechase, etc.
research.yahoo.com has projects they're not sure will ever be products. It's a "hedged" portfolio of short, medium, and long-term projects.
Finally, he announced a new product: a market to tap the collective wisdom of the web with regard to emerging technologies. He explained that prediction value increased as you move down the following list:
1. single non-expert
2. single expert
3. aggregation among non-experts (voting)
4. aggregation among experrts (electoral college)
5. aggregation over population weighted by performance (markets)
In thte market, the price of stocks reflect the aggregated opinion of which search terms will dominate. The payoff to you, the "investor", is proportional to the number of search queries for a stock that you hold.
You can check it out the prediction market here: buzz.research.yahoo.com.