Nobody has a monopoly on good ideas," said Usama Fayyad, senior vice president and chief data officer at Yahoo. "There are so many challenges technically that we can use all the brain power we can."
According to the Yahoo Research Labs-Berkeley site the lab will, "...explore and invent social media and mobile media technology and applications that will enable people to create, describe, find, share, and remix media on the web."
Yahoo also operates research labs in Sunnyvale and Pasadena.
Postscript: More about Yahoo Research Labs-Berkeley and its director Marc Davis, in a post by Bradley Horowitz on the Yahoo Search Blog.