Microsoft cuts Live Labs staff by half, refocuses on search

Microsoft has reacted to the global economic slump by reassigning half of its forward-looking Live Labs staff to other projects around the company.

Microsoft has reacted to the global economic slump by reassigning half of its forward-looking Live Labs staff to other projects around the company. The remaining half will focus solely on Microsoft's search products, the area that probably offers Microsoft the most room for revenue growth.

At least for now, you can browse the names and headshots of most of the Live Labs team, pre-reassignment. A separate page Live Labs projects. The group, formally announced in January 2006, even posted a rambling Manifesto:

"These new dynamics set the stage for the literal evolution of innovation. Startup costs and barriers to entry diminish; opportunities for creating entirely new value increase; human muscle no longer gates scalability; transactions are not bound by time, distance, or size; and something intangible - a better algorithm - can massively increase global utility and welfare. This pattern is not merely about new applications. It's about a revolution in how we create, share, and refine anything that can be digitally encoded, be it news and information, artistic forms, scientific breakthroughs, personal communications, economic transactions, and, yes, even software. This is not Web 2.0. It's World 2.0."

Microsoft isn't the only tech supercompany cutting back on projects that don't add to the bottom line. Google unplugged its Lively virtual world in November, and Yahoo shut down Y!Live in December.

Live Labs's most high-profile project is Photosynth, which correlates the data in multiple digital photographs to create a three-dimensional model of a place or object. It's not yet clear what will happen to Photosynth or the Seadragon image viewer. Perhaps the remaining Live Labs staff will find a way to enhance Microsoft's search with more visual features like bird's-eye view.

At least one project has a chance at life after Live Labs: In January, the group open-sourced their Web Sandbox for website developers.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Microsoftmicrosoft live labs

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Paul Boutin

The Industry Standard
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?