Microsoft is folding its Live Labs team into Bing, company officials said on October 8.
Almost all of the 70 or so Live Labs members are moving over within the next month. One notable exception: Technical Fellow and Live Labs leader Gary Flake is not. Flake announced his resignation today (though he will be staying to assist with the transition through the end of October, a company spokesperson said).
Flake tweeted his decision to resign on October 8. Flake joined Microsoft four years ago from Yahoo, where he founded Yahoo Research Labs, ran Yahoo’s corporate R&D activities and was Overture’s Chief Science Officer.
Bing, in many ways, is a natural home for Live Labs, as the Live Labs team was focusing most recently on new visual search technologies with its Pivot work. A number of Live Labs projects never made it out of the labs.
Live Labs was a mash-up of MSN and Microsoft research team members that Microsoft created in the hopes of bringing new technology research more quickly to market. (Microsoft formed a number of similar labs around the same time, including the still-operational Office Labs.)
There were rumors last year that Microsoft had pulled the plug on Live Labs. Instead, roughly half the team was moved into other Microsoft product groups, with the remaining half focusing on search and data retrieval and discovery projects.
Microsoft execs often touted Live Labs as an example of Microsoft being an innovator, rather than a follower.