Microsoft Announces Two New Research Labs: Live Labs and Search Labs

Just weeks after announcing the formation of the Microsoft adLab, the company is announcing two new research labs, Microsoft Live Labs (MLL) and Search Labs.

MLL will bring together researchers from MSN and Microsoft Research and will be led by Dr. Gary Flake, a technical fellow at Microsoft. Dr. Flake came to Microsoft last year. Before moving to Redmond he was the person in charge of Yahoo Research where I had the opportunity to interview him in 2004.

Microsoft Live Labs will focus on, “Internet-centric applied research programs including: rapidly prototyping and launching emerging technologies, incubating entirely new inventions, and improving and accelerating Windows Live offerings.”

A list of some of the Windows Live current projects can be reviewed here. Projects include everything from the home page to Windows Live Local (directory, maps and “birds eye” magery) to the soon to launch Windows Live Expo (classified ad/social marketplace).

Ray Ozzie, Craig Mundie and David Vaskevitch, Microsoft Corp’s chief technical officers, will all serve as the Live Labs Advisory Board.

From the announcement:

Live Labs will investigate a broad and comprehensive set of research topics such as multimedia search, machine learning, distributed computing, data mining, as well as engage in rapid prototyping, and the incubation of disruptive technologies. Unlike basic research, which is geared toward visionary discoveries that may or may not end up in actual products, and product development, which is very feature focused and geared toward solving tactical engineering problems, Live Labs applied research will study the relationship and applicability of theories or principles to the solution of a problem, or an actual product or service.

Search Labs
In addition to Microsoft Live Labs, the company is also announcing another new lab, Search Labs (SL), that will have a presence at both MS headquarters in Redmond and the Microsoft Silicon Valley campus in Mountain View, CA. SL work closely with Microsoft Live Labs.

Search Labs will be run by new MS hire, Ashok Chandra, a former VP at Verity. SL will focus on personalization and socialization and also build datamining, verticals, and parametric capabilities, “to go beyond the search bar experience.”

The press release has more including info about grants, fellowships and sabbaticals for members of the academic community.

Finally, Dr. Flake has published “Live Labs – a Manifesto” that offers details on the vision, mission, philosophy, and structure of the Live Labs. In the vision section of the manifesto Flake writes:

This is not Web 2.0. It’s World 2.0.

Learn more from the MS Live Labs web site.

Postscript: Ina Fried has more info in this story.

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