The Microsoft Bing team is doing more than building a search engine that competes head-to-head with Google.
Part of the team, as I've blogged previously, also built some of the first Microsoft-branded consumer apps for Windows 8.
But it turns out there's another team inside the Bing organization that is working on Windows 8 apps, too. There's an Augmented Reality (AR) team inside Bing that is building both an AR framework and AR applications that will ship on Windows 8 tablets and other unspecified devices.
In keeping with Microsoft's new charter as a devices and services company, the so-called "Bing Information Platform team" is in the midst of developing the "next-generation of intelligent cloud services for developers on all screen sizes," according to a couple of job openings posted on Microsoft's site.
This AR-focused Bing team is working on everything from camera tracking, to visual and audio recognition, to optical character recognition and translation and vision-based natural-user interfaces. The team already has made available some AR deliverables, including the Bing translation app, augmented-reality-enriched Bing Maps, and the Bing Vision and Bing Audio technologies in Windows Phone.
But the Bing AR team -- which is staffing up further -- also is working on an AR software development kit (SDK) for third-party developers interested in buildng AR apps; Microsoft-developed and -branded AR apps and games using this SDK; and a Windows Azure-based cloud framework for supporting both the Microsoft and third-party AR apps.
The AR focus inside Bing shouldn't be too much of a surprise, given that Microsoft moved many of those working on its defunct Live Labs team into Bing a couple of years back. The Bing unit also is home to Microsoft's TellMe and other speech-centric products.
It will be interesting to see what kind of AR apps for Windows 8 the Bing Information Platform team builds out. Will any of these apps be optimized for the AR glasses (codenamed Fortaleza)? They're targeted for delivery in 2014 according to a Microsoft futures deck that leaked earlier this year, and Microsoft's Xbox team is believed to be working on them.
This story originally appeared at ZDNet under the headline "Microsoft's Bing Augmented Reality team readies framework, Windows 8 tablet apps."