At the MSN Search Champs event last week, both Dan Farber and Alex Barnett report that it was announced (somewhat informally by Gary Flake, the new head of Microsoft Live Labs) that Microsoft had acquired Seadragon Software. Kim Peterson at the Seattle Times has the details:
Microsoft is acquiring Seadragon Software, a Seattle-based company developing technologies that could be used across several of the software giant’s businesses, including Web search, cellphone services, mapping and digital-photo programs.
The acquisition was expected to close as early as yesterday, according to a person familiar with the deal.
Terms were not made public, and neither Seadragon nor Microsoft would comment on the matter Friday.
The Seadragon web site describes their technology as providing
… the ability to view and interact with collections of high-resolution images, vector graphics, applets or other documents, locally or remotely, at any visual scale and in an environment that allows fluid navigation in two or three dimensions.
There are no visual discontinuities; information continuously “comes into focus” as it becomes available.
If that seems a trifle abstract, check out the demos on the web site and you’ll see the relevance to Windows Live Local among other possibilities. Seadragon was founded in 2003 by Blaise Agüera y Arcas who holds a number of key patents in this area. It has received at least one round of VC funding. More details by following the links and also from John Cook at the Seattle PI.