Microsoft Live Labs is Dead, Employees Move to Bing

Microsoft Live Labs is no more. The remaining 68 employees will join Bing.

According to a note on the Live Labs page:

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.

We’re looking forward to contributing our web UX and data visualization know-how to improve your Bing experience. Our transition to Bing and the associated details will be worked out through the remainder of October.

Our sincerest thanks for your interest and support of Live Labs!

Among Live Labs’ credits: Photosynth, a 3D photo meshing technology that is now part of Bing Maps; and Pivot, a visual sorting software.

Live Labs, which was created in 2006, was downsized last April and the remaining group turned its focus to search.

Friday, Live Labs founder and director Dr. Gary Flake announced via Twitter, “I have resigned from Microsoft.” A spokesperson said Flake will stay through October to help with the transition. Flake’s was previously principal scientist and head of Yahoo Research Labs. and chief science officer for Overture Research.

Search Engine Watch interviewed Flake back in 2004. Check out “Behind the Scenes at Yahoo Labs” Part 1 (in which Flake talks about the daily work of researchers at Yahoo Labs, and what they were doing to make search better), Part 2 (the challenges of indexing various types of information, and Yahoo’s personalized search efforts), and Part 3 (a wide range of search topics).

Interesting to note his take on where he thought Yahoo would be in 2009:

My hunch is that personalization will be so good that most users will look back to web search circa 2004 as ridiculously outdated. I also think that Yahoo will have nailed user intent to the point that we will be able to tailor the result set to focus on documents that satisfy the need behind the query, instead of returning results that merely contain the same words as in the query.

We will also be indexing and blending from many more sources.

In the end, there will be vastly more data and information behind Yahoo search, yet users will be able to find what they want and need far more effectively than they can today.

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