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Yahoo-spruces-up-before-AOL-entry
ST Team
Tuesday, May 1, 2007
A day prior to AOL's launch of its India portal, arch-rival Yahoo upped the competition ante by announcing a slew of measures. First up, the company has revamped its R&D capabilities in the country, with India being designated as the Centre of Excellence for Product Engineering for 'Emerging Markets'.

As part of this exercise, the company has reshuffled its top level management. Former General Manager for Symantec, India Sharad Sharma has been appointed the CEO of Yahoo! India R&D. Besides, Jawahar Malhotra, who was earlier working as the senior director of the Yahoo! Technology Group in the U.S., has been brought back as the CTO for Yahoo India R&D. This is expected to take care of developing applications to counter the competition from entrant AOL, as also address product engineering works of the company for 'emerging markets'.

The appointments have been backed by the launch of a new five storey, 220,000 square-feet research and development facility in Bangalore. The company, which has 1,000 people working in India, will commit more resources to the Bangalore-based unit and hire more people as part of its local expansion, said David Filo, co-founder, Yahoo.
"There's a lot more emphasis on emerging markets because they present the next big opportunity for us," he said, referring, perhaps, to its efforts to spruce up its offerings in response to AOL's India launch. Yahoo launched two new initiatives to browse 20 Indian cities and access maps, in order to capture the India market.

The first link, which can be accessed by users at http://in.ourcity.yahoo.com provides an updated perspective of a city as seen and experienced by people, and contains both editorial and user generated content. Yahoo maps, on the other hand http://in.maps.yahoo.com - provides street level search functionality with street maps, satellite map and hybrid maps. "Users can search over 170 cities, 4,785 towns and 220,000 villages across the country," informed Yahoo India Managing Director George Zacharias.

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