Yahoo Announces Spin-off Of Vespa, Its Search Tech, Into An Independent Company


Yahoo, the online search giant, has made the decision to spin out Vespa, its big data serving engine, into an independent venture. This move comes as Yahoo aims to further invest in Vespa and continue its own development of the technology. Jon Bratseth, who has previously played a crucial role in Vespa’s development, has been appointed as the CEO of the newly formed independent company.

Key Takeaway

Yahoo is spinning out Vespa, its big data serving engine, into an independent company. Yahoo will continue to invest in Vespa and retain its position as the largest customer. Vespa’s technology, which powers searches, recommendations, and ad targeting, has gained significant adoption both within and outside of Yahoo.

Yahoo will continue to hold a stake in Vespa and remain its largest customer even after the spin-off. The company plans to support Vespa financially and retain a seat on the board of directors. This move highlights Yahoo’s ongoing commitment to Vespa and its belief in the technology’s potential.

Vespa’s Journey

Vespa was initially created by Yahoo in 2005 after the acquisition of Overture, a paid search service provider, and, a Norwegian search engine. The original team from, working closely with Yahoo’s e-commerce division, transformed their search technology into a versatile tool that could be used internally by Yahoo developers to process large-scale data sets in real-time.

Over the years, Yahoo expanded Vespa’s capabilities, enabling it to handle various types of input, personalize content based on user preferences, and integrate machine learning algorithms. In 2017, Yahoo decided to open-source Vespa, in a bid to attract developer interest and foster an ecosystem around the technology. This move paid off, as Vespa now powers searches and recommendations on Yahoo-owned sites like Flickr, as well as ad targeting on Yahoo-branded web properties.

Furthermore, Vespa has gained popularity beyond Yahoo, with numerous brands, including Spotify, OkCupid, and Wix, utilizing the open-source version of Vespa or the cloud-hosted, fully managed version offered by Yahoo, known as Vespa Cloud. The open-source package of Vespa has been downloaded over 10 million times, indicating its widespread adoption.

The Advantages of Vespa

Yahoo asserts that Vespa offers several unique advantages compared to alternative search technologies, such as Solr and ElasticSearch. According to Jon Bratseth, the new CEO of Vespa, the technology goes beyond what’s currently available in the market, particularly in terms of providing comprehensive solutions for applications that combine data and AI on a large scale.

“We have a very experienced team working on improving Vespa to meet this vision,” Bratseth explained. “We have a culture of continuously shipping improvements, and from what I can see, we’re still moving much faster than any others.”

The decision to spin out Vespa into an independent company is primarily driven by the growing demand from other companies to leverage Vespa’s capabilities. This move will enable Yahoo to enhance its cloud services and support the deployment of applications by these companies in a more scalable manner.

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