Blogs have been buzzing today with leaked screenshots of Microsoft’s new search engine, Kumo. We speculated that Microsoft might be rebranding their search engine to Kumo back in November 2008, and now internal screenshots have been leaked and an update posted on the Live Search blog.
According to a Microsoft memo, the Kumo.com URL is for internal testing purposes only and will not be available to the general public… (yet). Here’s part of the memo sent out to all Microsoft employees courtesy of search engine land:
The Search team needs you. We’ve been working hard to improve our search service and want to share the progress we are making with you. We are launching a new test program called kumo.com for employees to try and provide feedback. Kumo.com exists only inside the corporate network, and in order to get enough feedback we will be redirecting internal live.com traffic over to the test site in the coming days. Kumo is the codename we have chosen for the internal test.
In spite of the progress made by search engines, 40% of queries go unanswered; half of queries are about searchers returning to previous tasks; and 46% of search sessions are longer than 20 minutes. These and many other learnings suggest that customers often don’t find what they need from search today.
We believe we can provide a better and more useful search experience that helps you not just search but accomplish tasks. During the test, features will vary by country, but you’ll see results organized in a way that saves you more time. An explorer pane on the left side of results pages will give you access to tools that help you with your tasks. Other features like single session history and hover preview help accomplish more in search sessions.
Your Next Search…
To get started, visit kumo.com or click one of the samples below to see how it’s possible to find the right results more easily:
- Audi S8
- Taylor Swift
- Bose Lifestyle 48
No information has been made available when (and if) Microsoft will be releasing Kumo.com as the successor of Live Search, but internal tests like these are usually done to iron out any final bugs before an official launch.
Now on to the screenshots:
As others have mentioned, these tend to look a bit like Ask.com search results, trying to integrate related searches, images and web results all on the one page. If you’re interested, Microsoft has made an official blog post about the test here.
Launching a new brand is tough in any industry, especially in Search, which is heavily dominated by three to four major players. There’s no doubt Microsoft will be facing an uphill battle with this one, but it’s nice to see they’re still innovating in the search arena.