Oct 112010

Microsoft will fold its Live Labs research team, which focused on Web technologies, into its Bing search engine unit, the company said on its Web site.

Microsoft launched Live Labs in early 2006 with an aim of quickly developing Internet-based technologies including multimedia search, user experience (UX) design, distributed computing and data mining to compete with rivals such as Google.

“After nearly five years as a lab within Microsoft, the Live Labs team is transitioning to Bing, where we’ll play a more direct role in future Bing innovations,” said a brief note on the Live Labs Web site. “We’re looking forward to contributing our web UX and data visualization know-how to improve your Bing experience.”

Live Labs founder and technical director Gary Flake has resigned from the company, he wrote on his Twitter feed on Friday. Before working at Microsoft, he founded Yahoo’s Research Labs and Overture Research.

Among Live Labs’ notable projects was Photosynth, which can merge a series of photographs to create a three-dimensional model of a place. Live Labs also created Microsoft’s first iPhone application called Seadragon, which was designed to allow large documents or photos to be magnified on a small device screen.

Microsoft had been scaling back Live Labs due in part to poor economic conditions. Half of the Live Labs staff were reassigned to other parts of the company in April 2009. The remaining staff had been already be refocusing their efforts on search-related technologies.

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