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Microsoft demos advertising lab

Incubation lab is developing technologies designed to personalize advertising, boost MSN revenue.

Microsoft on Friday debuted its AdCenter Incubation Lab, providing a peek at some of the ad-based technologies the lab is cooking up.

As previously reported, Microsoft has been developing its AdCenter tool for more than a year. On Friday, the company demonstrated 15 of 40 prototypes during its AdCenter Demo Fest at its headquarters in Redmond, Wash.

Offering a range of distribution options, from video hyperlink ads to mobile-based ads, AdCenter is being designed to deliver more personalized ads to users. Microsoft hopes that the incubation lab--a joint effort of Microsoft Research and its MSN AdCenter--will increase advertising revenue for its Web portal.

Microsoft is currently working on 40 advertising prototypes that would work with mediums such as video, television, mobile devices and the Internet. The ads also will be designed to address paid search, behavioral targeting and contextual advertising.

The software giant touted one prototype that offers a video hyperlink ad. The technology is designed to detect products that appear in television shows or commercials and then allows viewers to click on a related image for more information such as product details or how to purchase the item.

Other technologies under research include ad barcode readers, social network mining and large-display ads.

The incubation lab will draw on work being done by the company's AdCenter group in Redmond, as well as from Microsoft Research Asia in Beijing.

Microsoft's efforts to target ads based on users' personalities and other traits mark an effort to catch up to Yahoo and Google, which have forged ahead in delivering ads based on user age, gender, hobbies and other interests.