Tuesday, March 3

Microsoft Testing Kumo Search Site

Kumo was rumored to be a new branding for Microsoft's Live Search product. News has surfaced that Microsoft began internal testing of Kumo. Danny Sullivan has in-depth coverage on SearchEngineLand. CNet also has a screenshot of the new search interface. The internal memo introducing Kumo from Microsoft’s Satya Nadella has been circulating widely:

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....

It's very interesting to see the emphasis on task centric search, which was also echoed by Yahoo's Prabhakar Raghavan at the DEMO 2008 panel.