Skip to main content

Microsoft Testing Kumo Search Engine

Yesterday Microsoft confirmed that it is indeed testing a new Internet search engine called Kumo, hoping to topple Google mammoth and once again rule the world.

There's no question that Microsoft aims to dominate every aspect of the multimedia industry, whether it's multimedia players, internet browsers or gaming consoles. However, the company's latest effort to rule the world comes in the form of a search engine now undergoing private testing by Microsoft workers. If successful, the upcoming could pose a threat for Google and perhaps even Yahoo. 

So what will make this search engine so special? According to the AFP, the engine is supposedly based on semantic technology that enables it to understand sentences and relationships between words. Of course, it's nothing close to HAL or C-3PO, however current search engines take a different, primitive approach, matching words typed into search fields with those listed on website META tags as well as data found on the Internet. 

While speculation brews on whether Microsoft will replace Live Search with the newfound Kumo brand, some have questioned as to why Mircosoft is keeping the new search engine under wraps. Will it too unveil super secret military bases like the Google Earth application? Probably not, but Live Search manager Mike Nichols says that there's nothing fishy going on with Microsoft's secretive nature.

"There have been lots of questions about why we’re not opening this test to the public," he reports in this blog that also includes a Kumo screenshot. "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."

He goes on to explain the Kumo name and website url, saying that it's merely for the benefit of the employees testing the search engine, and believes that the Kumo name will encourage more active feedback. But does this mean Live Search is due for a rebranding? That question remains up in the air, as its something Microsoft is still considering. The Kumo brand would certainly set itself apart from the overall Microsoft "live" theme, but then again, millions of Internet surfers are all too familiar with the Live brand. 

Earlier this week, a leaked memo from Microsoft senior vice president Satya Nadella ricochet across the internet, highlighting the fact that current search engines take too long to generate results. The memo, apparently, was geared towards the employees embarking in a Kumo test drive. "In spite of the progress made by search engines, 40 percent of queries go unanswered; half of queries are about searchers returning to previous tasks; and 46 percent of search sessions are longer than 20 minutes," he said. "These and many other learnings suggest that customers often don’t find what they need from search today."

He also stated that Microsoft (Kumo) will provide a better and more useful search experience that helps the user not just search, but actually accomplish tasks. "During the test, features will vary by country, but you’ll see results organized in a way that saves you more time," he added 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. Other features like single session history and hover preview help accomplish more in search sessions."

Is Kumo the evolution of prior search engines? Or will it crash and burn in a red ring of death like the Xbox 360 console? Surprisingly enough, given its efforts to launch Kumo, Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer still wants to make a deal with Yahoo. But rather incorporating Yahoo's search engine technology into the current Kuma engine, it's more than likely Microsoft is after Yahoo's 21 percent of the market instead.

After all, Microsoft is out to rule the world.