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Microsoft internally testing service code named Kumo.com

     
9:52 am on Mar 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Microsoft testing new search service internally [uk.reuters.com]

Microsoft Corp is testing a new version of its online search service internally under the name of Kumo.com, a spokesman for the software company said on Monday.

The service is not yet available outside the company, but may eventually form part of Microsoft's attempt to catch up with Internet search leaders Google Inc and Yahoo Inc.

The new service was unveiled in an internal memo sent by the head of research at the company's online services division on Monday. It did not provide details about the new features.

1:02 pm on Mar 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Great!
1:57 pm on Mar 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Good news but you cannot "catch up". A new service won't create more searches so they'll have to cut into Yahoo and Google to borrow some of theirs.

You know, it's the Yin and Yang and Yahoo effect.

1:59 pm on Mar 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I wonder, with the herd effect so common on the web, if it's even possible to have a situation other than one dominant player and some also rans. It'd be nice in some ways to have more options, but will we ever see it?

If it's meet the new boss, same as the old boss, then I'm happy with things as they are now.

2:09 pm on Mar 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

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JS Harris raises a good question: What would it take to get people to use another search engine besides Yahoo and Google? My non-tech friends like Yahoo and Google because they feel, after years of use, that they know how to make it work for them. They think they "understand" how they work, and I think that is true to some degree.
2:42 pm on Mar 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Microsoft entered and took over the browser war in about 5 years.

In search, they have not gained any ground in 5 years. Time to go back to making your OS better. Like maybe having an upgrade path from XP to your latest OS, considering XP still has a 70% market share... But hey, we are talking Microsoft here... They will do what they want regardless of common sense.

4:51 pm on Mar 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Microsoft entered and took over the browser war in about 5 years.

IE4 was much better product than Netscape4, also they can't leverage their monopoly as good as they used to, but lack of better product is the real limiting factor here.

5:01 pm on Mar 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Maximillianos,

Microsoft had advantages in the browser war that it hasn't had in the search wars:

1. Browser was bundled for free with Windows. Install windows, use IE. Simple. Yes, they can still push a default search engine, but I don't think they've been doing that and it's much easier to change SEs than browsers (i.e. no installation).

2. They were on a much faster OS update schedule then, so they could push out new bundled products quickly. They've gotten away from that. It was six or seven years between XP and Vista, and Vista has had poor adoption, so for the past six years, they've had limited ability to keep people on the cycle that pushes them to Microsoft products.

Now that MS is at least making pretense of being serious about search and are hoping to get back to a quicker release cycle for their OS, #2 might change. The problem is that most people who want a real OS upgrade are leaving MS altogether. So you're probably right - if they want to make inroads in search, they need a serious search engine with results as good as anybody's and they need a "must have" OS upgrade that will allow them to set their search as the default.

If they're smart and they can work out the licensing, the next version of Windows will ship with IE, FF, Chrome and Safari all set to go and all defaulting to their search engine.

Oh yeah, and they'll quit changing the name of their search engine every year.

Oh yeah, and they'll quit choosing stupid names for a search engine, like Live or Kumo.

6:25 pm on Mar 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

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The Live Search team had a thing to say about this.
Testing…One…Two…Three! [blogs.msdn.com]
Many of you have probably seen the press coverage in the last day or so about the internal testing Microsoft employees are doing on our search product. There’s a good deal of excitement brewing over this test, both internally and externally, which we’re always glad to see.

There have been lots of questions about why we’re not opening this test to the public. This sort of internal testing is actually fairly commonplace at Microsoft and something we do with many of our products before we decide to release things publicly. Our hope is that our employees will give us great feedback on our new features and that it all becomes part of the external experience soon.

6:33 pm on Mar 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

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and this thread is turning in to an opinionated who is better based on personal opinion. Heck, I haven't seen a real questioned be raised, such as "I wonder how this is going to effect SEO", or are they going to keep live for those that like it. Personally I use Google, but that's only because the majority of my traffic comes from Google, and for good reason, they kind of run the search engine world.

And for those commenting on what they should do, why don't you take some time and figure out what it would take for them to do what your asking. in all aspects, like take bundling other browsers in a OS, just throw it all on the cd right? wrong, license agreements, permissions, copyrights, patents, and of course, all this monopoly stuff they have to deal with. They jump threw hoops with everything they do.

But that is just my two cents.

p.s. no I don't work for Microsoft, however I am a web developer that works for a big corporation. So I see a lot of the same stuff.

7:26 pm on Mar 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I haven't seen a real questioned be raised, such as "I wonder how this is going to effect SEO"

It will have minimal impact on SEO. People don't choose Google over Live because Google is so much better, people choose Google over Live because Google is good enough and established enough that they don't even bother trying Live. Kumo will be as irrelevant as Live unless it does something revolutionary.

8:24 pm on Mar 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

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What I find entertaining is that they say we need better search. Is that really your motivation Microsoft? Because if it was, why plaster the results with ads for a prototype? ;-)
9:10 pm on Mar 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

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What I like about this new search they are testing is their focus on the usefulness of the search engine in terms of accomplishing tasks. Microsoft appears to be looking closer at user intent.

We believe we can provide a better and more useful search experience that helps you not just search but accomplish tasks," Nadella said in the memo. "An explorer pane on the left side of results pages will give you access to tools that help you with your tasks...
1:08 am on Mar 4, 2009 (gmt 0)

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We believe we can provide a better and more useful search experience that helps you not just search but accomplish tasks," Nadella said in the memo. "An explorer pane on the left side of results pages will give you access to tools that help you with your tasks...

Sounds like lipstick on a pig to me. Google's safe for another decade or two.

4:47 pm on Mar 4, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Sounds like lipstick on a pig to me. Google's safe for another decade or two.

Wow. It's amazing to hear these sorts of opinions, when no one's actually tried the service yet.

I remember similar comments about .NET and the Xbox.

5:01 pm on Mar 4, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I agree that so far Microsoft have failed to make large inroads into the search market, but they have went from non existant to 3rd largest player in what is a fairly short time. Some may concider them as 2nd largest player depends on your stats.

Will Microsoft continue to gain on Yahoo and Google. I think a lot of this comes down to what improvements Microsoft can make to their search offering and how they can market it. It amazes me how little has been done at the OS level to leverage users to search using Live. I have a suspicion that getting access to web search will be very easy in Windows 7.

One massive point to remember is that search is not Microsofts cash cow. Software is. The question is how much are Microsoft prepared to invest in crushing Google, who have a clear interest in moving into Microsoft teritory. In order to safeguard their key business areas Microsoft may need to beat Google at search. This will not be easy.

Google used to be seen as the iconic online good guy. This image has been damaged quite a lot recently, but I am not sure the average user would even notice this.

Going back to can google be beat? yes they can. When you compare the three top players the gap is closing when you compare results. it all comes down to public oppinion.

Mack.

5:48 pm on Mar 4, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Now, be fair. .NET wasn't lipstick on a pig. It was more like Komodo Dragon slobber on a rabid muskrat.
8:03 pm on Mar 4, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Unlike Google or Yahoo, MS does not appear to have a consistent strategy in regards to search. First they try this, then they try that. It looks to me that they are still looking to find their footing and develop a niche, and to date that's not been terribly successful. In fact, given their size, money, power, and reach, I don't think it's unfair to say they've failed.

One thing they clearly need to do is to get the core basics right before changing the skin. For example, when I go through my Webmaster Tools at MSN, I see that they've not managed to visit some webpages on well developed sites since last Oct '08. And yes, I had submitted them the sitemap.xml and yes, those pages are well linked into the home page. Their bot just can't seem to find them, even though googlebot and yahoo/slurp come by on a regular basis. Now I don't care what they say -- that's SE 101 and they just ain't gettin' it. And until they do, I don't hold out a heck of a lot of hope for their "next big thing".

...........................

12:07 am on Mar 5, 2009 (gmt 0)

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>>Wow. It's amazing to hear these sorts of opinions, when no one's actually tried the service yet.

The way the article reads, Kumo is the Live search engine with tools spashed on the side. Dressing up a failed search engine is not going to capture any real market share. If the core of the search is poor, adding tools is not going to help matters.

1:05 am on Mar 5, 2009 (gmt 0)

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For example, a search for the term "Bose Lifestyle 48" results in categories for images, review, manual, prices, and repair. The search example for Taylor Swift, on the other hand, contains search categories to help you find song lyrics, tickets, albums, biography and so on. Semantic categories are a great idea, and most likely a result of Microsoft's purchase last year of the semantic search engine Powerset.

[pcworld.com...]

I'm hopeful. Regardless of the manufacturer, I'm glad to see new search technology being deployed. Semantic categories are an improvement over the current search experience on any engine. It's a very useful shortcut to information that is getting harder and harder to find between all of the classified ads sites, Wikipedia, and useless content sites that exist these days.

1:54 am on Mar 5, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Once its actually available for use, I'll try it, but until then - I don't care what their marketing department says.
 

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