Microsoft has revealed it is merging its Live Labs research team, which focused on web technologies, with its Bing search engine research team.

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 website. "We're looking forward to contributing our web UX and data visualisation know-how to improve your Bing experience."

Live Labs founder and technical director Gary Flake revealed on his Twitter feed last week, he has resigned from the company. 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 scalling 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.

See also: Microsoft restructures Live Labs research group