After the ho-hum AR demonstration of Windows Phone Mango, Microsoft appears to be stepping up its game by licensing a mature set of technologies from GeoVector, (a company previously known for its defunct World Surfer application). While the details remain elusive, Ballmer's crew was granted a multi-year, non-exclusive right to use and abuse the pointing-based local search and augmented reality elements of GeoVector's portfolio -- surely capable of bringing Local Scout to the next level. While much of the technology relies on GPS and a compass for directional-based discovery, the licensor also holds intellectual property for object recognition (à la Google Goggles), although it's unclear whether this element falls within the agreement. Of course, Microsoft could have turned to Nokia's Live View AR for many of the same tools, but that would have been far too obvious. Just beyond the break, you'll find the full PR along with an (admittedly dated) video of GeoVector's technology.

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Microsoft Licenses Unique Technology for Augmented Reality and Pointing-Based Mobile Local Search from GeoVector

Licensing Agreement Provides Microsoft with access to GeoVector's Substantial Portfolio of Patents for Spatially Aware Mobile Computing

July 13, 2011 07:58 AM Eastern Daylight Time

SAN FRANCISCO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) has entered into a licensing agreement with GeoVector® Corporation, the world leader in Augmented Reality and pointing-based local search solutions for mobile devices. The non-exclusive multi-year agreement gives Microsoft rights to use concepts covered by GeoVector's patents.

"We are thrilled to have Microsoft join the growing number of GeoVector licensees," said John Ellenby, GeoVector's President and CEO. "This agreement further validates GeoVector's industry-leading patent portfolio and enables us to focus on additional licensing opportunities as we bring our location-based technology to market through our partners and licensees."

The patents included in the agreement cover Augmented Reality, pointing-based local search and other aspects of spatially aware mobile computing. Other terms of the agreement were not released.