Microsoft Leak Kumo Plans

Posted: March 5th, 2009

After years of getting slammed by Google in the search stats Microsoft are rumoured to be harbouring a secret weapon. The search market is a colossal cash pie and Google have a large slice. January’s comScore rankings showed Google’s search portion dropping half a percent however still sitting at a whopping 63% compared to Microsoft’s miniscule 8.5%.

As far as these search giants are concerned, high search volumes equate to high bank balances. The more people who use your search engine the higher you can charge for advertising and Google is the undeniable king of search. Their success was achieved by taking original ideas and making them better; more relevant search results in quicker time with less spam.

With Google looking increasing less innovative and more like a corporation exploring how it can earn more money out of what they do already, is the back door open for Microsoft to creep in with Kumo. Translating to spider [or cloud] in Japanese, Kumo is the latest effort from Microsoft to upgrade the underperforming Live Search.

Microsoft have launched the product internally, requesting that colleagues asses and critique the search product before a limited release toward the end of this year. Rumours began to circulate toward the end of last year however Microsoft remained completely closed lipped about it… until now.

In the leaked email Microsoft claim that a large percentage of searches go unresolved by consumers, stating that current search platforms are not task focussed or user friendly, a bold claim from a company demanding an 8.5% share in the search market. From face value Bill Gates’ search team believe that altering how the results are presented will make all the difference.

Kumo automatically subcategorises results using other popular keywords with a summary in the top left corner. That appears to be it at the moment. Despite the fact that by pasting any of those subcategories into another search would bare more extensive results Microsoft must think that this screen makeover will bring them back into the fray.

To be objective, we will not know until we have a beta version to play with, as they might have revolutionised the way in which search results are selected, but it is doubtful. Google changed cyberspace because it was based on innovation and exploration above profit; this might have changed dramatically in recent years but the Microsoft corporate machine has not.

If Kumo did topple Google’s search domination it would not be the first time that an aesthetic gimmick has won over the consumer masses, however the search market is more fickle than that. Relevant objectivity, speed and reliability are what search consumers want and Google still delivers and Microsoft will always be about one thing… money.

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