Yahoo! Research Labs has teamed with O'Reilly Media to develop a joint research project called the Tech Buzz Game, an online prediction market that allows consumers to forecast the popularity of technology concepts, products and trends.
The Tech Buzz Game leverages search query volume and frequency on Yahoo! Search to measure a term's popularity or "buzz." It mirrors the functionality of the stock market, enabling participants to "buy" and "sell" virtual shares in their favorite technology terms based on their estimates of future value. The game, which is powered by NewsFutures, a provider of prediction markets software, utilizes new market and auction mechanisms invented at Yahoo! Research Labs by Dr. Gary William Flake, Yahoo!'s principal scientist, and Senior Research Scientist Dr. David Pennock.
The Tech Buzz Game is divided into separate markets that fall into topic areas such as hardware, software, mobile and web. Each market pits rival technologies against one another. For example, the "Browser" market includes Internet Explorer 6 and Firefox among others. Participants would buy stock in the technology they believe will increase in search popularity.
"The Tech Buzz Game is a fundamentally new type of online auction that will allow us to determine how well emerging trends can be predicted by the collective wisdom of crowds as correlated with Internet search terms," said Yahoo!'s Dr. Flake.
"The game will also allow us to investigate opportunities around forecasting trends in search engine behavior, and how they relate to events in the real world," added Yahoo!'s Dr. Pennock.
O'Reilly Media designed the game's ontology based on the landscape of technologies, products, and companies that are on the O'Reilly radar. The markets and "stocks" reflect O'Reilly's picks of important, emerging, intriguing, and disruptive forces in the tech market.
The three winners with the highest value portfolios will be announced at the O'Reilly Open Source Convention, August 1-5, 2005.