Google X is a well known research group within Google that works on special projects directly overseen by co-founder Sergey Brin. Two popular projects include Google Glass and the Google driverless car.
A new report claims Microsoft has formed a similar group inside Microsoft dubbed “Special Projects Group in Microsoft Research (MSR).” The group’s mission is specifically to work on “disruptive technologies that could benefit the company and society.” In addition the new group will address “hard and interesting problems” in the areas of systems, networking, distributed computing, UX design, devices, cloud, mobility, machine learning/artifical intelligence, big data and datacenter technologies.
According to the report, the new MSR Special Projects team boss is Norman Whitaker. Whitaker was previously Deputy Director of the Information Innovation Office at DARPA, the U.S. Department of Defense’s research arm and Program Manager for the DARPA Urban Challenge program. DARPA has had close ties to Google in the past and funded projects around self-driving vehicle and other kinds of automated bots.