Microsoft has opened a new research division, Live Labs, focused on Internet technology such as multimedia search, machine learning, distributed computing and data mining, the company said yesterday. The new group will focus on developing Internet products for Microsoft, and rapidly prototype and launch new products for the company. The software giant said that the new research labs are a partnership between MSN and Microsoft Research and will be headed by Dr. Gary William Flake. Flake was previously in charge of Yahoo Research. The Live Labs projects include Microsoft's Windows Local Live, a directory and mapping service, Windows Live Expo, a classified advertising and marketplace, and as well as next generation MSN Messenger, mobile search, and other projects. Microsoft also said that it has hired Dr. Ashok Chandra as manager of Search Labs, a related organization to Live Labs, which will focus on personalization, socialization and improved user experience.