KNIGHT RIDDER NEWSPAPERS -- Dec 28 -- Davis, a media professor at UC Berkeley, has been given the keys to perhaps the biggest real-world lab in the world, Yahoo. As head of Yahoo's new social media research lab in Berkeley, Davis has been tasked with helping Yahoo chart a course through the rapidly evolving world of "social media" from blogs and social networking services to interactive mobile devices. Yahoo is aiming to build a technological playground where individuals can create and share their own content, from audio "podcasts" and blogs to message groups and photo albums. Yahoo's focus has expanded to a "social search" concept. It allows people to search the subset of Web sites that friends and acquaintances have found interesting and annotated with their thoughts and comments. Yahoo launched a social networking and blogging service called 360 this year, recently acquired Upcoming.org, an events calendar assembled entirely by the public, and has plans to let people create and share their own audio podcasts. It recently began including blog content in its news section, elevating grass-roots journalism and writing closer to mainstream media.
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