Venturing out of Bangalore for the first time, Yahoo! India R&D organised the sixth annual edition of its hackathon in Hyderabad on Saturday and Sunday (July 13 and 14).
"The focus this time is on personalisation and mobile, and the idea is to tap into the developer community," said Hari Vasudev, Head Yahoo! India R&D, to Business Today. "They can develop applications than span across all devices, and will offer inspiring and delightful experiences to our consumers across devices."
Upbeat over the response from developers, Vasudev added, "Within a couple of days of our announcing the event about 1,000 developers registered to participate, but since we could accommodate 250 we made selections based on the coding test that we gave them. The quality is the best here."
The 250 developers were from 20 different states in India. The event, he said, was the company's way to stay connected with the developer community and to tap into it.
Discussing Yahoo! R&D efforts in India, Vasudev said the Bangalore hub, set up in 2002, employed nearly 2000 people and was a significant part of Yahoo's global team comprising around 11,000 people, half of whom were engaged in research and development.
He emphasised that the focus of the Indian team was not on numbers or team sizes but on the nature and impact of its work.
He noted that people in the India R&D team represented almost every product group inside Yahoo! Global, be it Yahoo! image and video search, Yahoo! Answers, Yahoo! Groups and Yahoo! Travel. Vasudev himself is the global lead of Yahoo! Answers.
In terms of patents filed and accepted, he said the India centre's contribution had been growing at an average of 40 per cent year-on-year for the last three years.
In 2011, it contributed half of Yahoo's global total Yahoo! India had delivered end to end development of over 20 products for global and emerging markets of Yahoo, including products innovations such as Yahoo! Cricket, omg!, Yahoo! Video, Polyads and Predict.
The 2000-strong team comprises engineers, designers, architects, scientists and product managers, among others. "India is very important for Yahoo!, particularly from an audience perspective," said Vasudev.
Today, Yahoo! reaches over 60 per cent of the 150 million strong Internet audience in India. The mobile traffic to the Yahoo! network in India has jumped by over 54 per cent in the past one year. Currently, over 50 per cent of Yahoo! users in India access through mobiles.