Microsoft's Kumo search engine creates buzz

Microsoft is expected to unveil its new version of Live Search next week

Microsoft has not even released or confirmed next week's rumored release of its Kumo search engine, and already the industry is speculating what the new engine will or will not do, both in terms of functionality and for the company's search market share.

While little is officially known about Kumo, the Wall Street Journal has reported Microsoft will unveil the new search engine next week. Some industry analysts said they already have been briefed about the search engine under nondisclosure agreements.

Microsoft has never publicly acknowledged that it will rename its Live Search engine Kumo, but the company has confirmed it's testing a search engine internally using the Kumo.com URL. Bing is another name rumored to be the rebrand for the next iteration of Live Search.

Some believe the new search engine won't have any new technology beyond what competitors Google and Yahoo already have, based on screenshots of Kumo that were leaked to the Web in March, said Greg Sterling, analyst with Sterling Market Intelligence.

"It doesn't look radically different from the current form of so-called universal search," he said. However, Microsoft apparently has been doing work on the back end to improve the search engine, which won't be evident to people until they use the new engine, Sterling said.

Microsoft is expected to include some of the features of the Powerset search engine it acquired last June from the San Francisco-based startup.

Powerset developed a technology that attempts to understand the full meanings of phrases people type while searching, returning results based on that understanding.

Sterling, who has seen the new search engine but is not at liberty to disclose details of it, said that Microsoft believes it has identified a problem people have with finding what they're looking for with competitive search engines, and the company believes it can solve that problem.

"They think they can do a better job of fulfilling those unmet needs," he said.

Microsoft currently is a distant third behind Google and Yahoo in search-engine market share, and it has been investing significantly for a number of years to change that status.

Because Google has such a strong brand and so many people use it, it will be difficult for Microsoft to improve its position, Sterling said.

"People's behavior is pretty well established," he said. "You'd have to find some feature or set of features that's real useful or fun or interesting."

Sterling said Microsoft is realistic and does not expect the new search engine to change that overnight, but rather sees it as the next step in a series of moves the company will take to chip away at Google's share.

"I don't think Microsoft has the expectation that on day two they're going to catch Google," he said. "I think they're taking a longer term view of the market."

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Microsoftsearch enginesKumo

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Elizabeth Montalbano

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?