Yahoo acquires social recommendation startup Jybe

Yahoo(s yhoo) announced on Wednesday that the company has acquired Jybe, a social recommendation startup that aimed to give users a sense of the books, movies, and restaurants their friends like, in an attempt to be a more personalized, accurate version of Yelp. By acquiring Jybe, Yahoo gains a set of engineers who understood how to build social software, providing some insight into where Yahoo is headed in terms of recommendations and social cues.
jybe screenshot appJybe was founded in 2011 by former Yahoo employees, so both the startup and Yahoo noted that the acquisition, which will shut down Jybe and have the founders working on projects at Yahoo, is something of a homecoming. Yahoo wrote in a blog post on the acquisition:

“As part of this acquisition, we’re welcoming an extremely talented group of engineers and data scientists who will join Yahoo!’s platform organization, focused on targeting and personalization. This will be a “coming home” for the team — all five are former Yahoos. Arnab Bhattacharjee was the VP of Yahoo! Search Technology (YST), one of the most well respected engineering and platforms groups in the company. He returns together with former key members of the YST and Hadoop teams — Tim Converse, Christian Kunz, Sameer Paranjpye, and Karthik Krishnamurthy.
While the Jybe app has closed, we’re confident that their data- and science-driven experience will supercharge our efforts to build great products and experiences for the millions of people who come to Yahoo! every day.”

The Jybe employees wrote in a blog post about the decision to re-join with Yahoo:

“The Jybe team first set off two years ago to bring mobile users smart, personalized recomendations on food and entertainment. This has been a fun and furious journey for our tiny startup, as we applied our various technology backgrounds to recommendation and mobile app design. It’s now time to move ahead to join a larger company, and Yahoo! is the perfect match.
For the five of us who will be joining Yahoo! this is a coming home – we are all former Yahoos. Three of us left Yahoo! to pursue our passion at Jybe, and two of us took a longer path via other startups and search-engine companies. We can’t wait to apply what we’ve learned about recommendation, personalization and the mobile experience to the hundreds of millions of people who come to Yahoo! every day. We look forward to (re)joining the world-class talent already working at Yahoo! and are excited to hit the ground running.”

Jybe had just launched its iPhone recommendation app in March 2012, allowing consumers to see reviews and recommendations, but then also move toward making a purchase on the app. For example, customers could see restaurant recommendations and then book an OpenTable reservation, or see book recommendations and get the barcode and the ability to download it from Amazon.