Posted March 2, 2009 8:37 pm by with 12 comments

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kumo-logoUPDATE: Is this a re-brand of Live Search to Kumo or is Kumo just being used as a staging site? It seems that if Microsoft just wanted to test a new interface, it could do that without using the Kumo brand. Still, we’ve put in a request for an official response from Microsoft and will let you know what we hear back.

UPDATE 2: We’ve received an official response from Microsoft:

Microsoft is using the URL for internal testing purposes only. Given the depth and breadth of our current online service offering, we recognize a need to sharply define and align our online brands. However, we have nothing new to announce at this time

Does that clarify things? On the face of it, Kumo won’t be the new brand, but the “sharply define” somewhat conflicts with the “align.” I still find it strange that MSFT would use the “” domain when it could just as easily redirect the Live Search site for internal users.

We’ve heard from a source close to Microsoft who suggests previous rumors of the company’s plans to re-brand Live Search to are going ahead. Here’s a leaked screen shot of how Kumo will look:

We’ve also obtained an internal memo that was just sent to Microsoft employees confirming that is being tested internally:

From: Satya Nadella

Sent: Monday, March 02, 2009 4:18 PM

To: Microsoft – All Employees (QBDG)

Subject: Announcement: Internal Search Test Experience

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 for employees to try and provide feedback. exists only inside the corporate network, and in order to get enough feedback we will be redirecting internal 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.

Your Next Search…

To get started, visit or click one of the samples below to see how it’s possible to find the right results more easily:

·        Audi S8

·        Taylor Swift

·        Bose Lifestyle 48

You can also set your search defaults to test site using the instructions here.

Your Feedback is Critical

As employees, you are some of our most informed users and our toughest critics, and we highly value your input and feedback to help us build a better service. You have been an important voice in our efforts, and the feedback you’ve sent us since the company meeting has been amazing.

When you visit, at the bottom right corner of the each page you’ll see a feedback badge.  We ask that each time you use the test site, click the feedback badge and take a moment to answer four quick and simple questions. Feel free to reach out to give us extra feedback directly on our blog and by mailing sfeed. For answers to common questions make sure to see our FAQ.

We are committed to rapid innovation and improvement. Please give the test site a try, rate the results and let us know what you think.


What do you think? Clearly the “Live Search” brand wasn’t getting the job done. Can Kumo help Microsoft steal away market share from Google?

UPDATE: We’ve gotten our hands on another screen shot:


  • Just more proof that Microsoft doesn’t get search. Kumo? I wish them luck but that has less appeal than “Live Search” and folks are just figuring out now that “Live” is Microsoft search.

    How about something that makes sense, like, let’s see, MICROSOFT SEARCH?

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  • I don’t see anything in that email about Live being rebranded to Kumo. From what it sounds like, that is just a website they set up for their own employees to test future search engine technologies. Microsoft would be stupid to rebrand something they just rebranded just a couple years ago. Live is a good name too.

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  • hmm… sounds tricky. Microsoft keeps rebranding stuff and gets nowhere. Also, Live is a great name. Why don’t they use their ‘new technologies’ on the existing site?

  • Rebranding from Live Search would be a huge mistake imho. Kumo sounds like a distant 3rd party search engine. Just too obscure sounding.

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  • Paul Peterson

    You said: the “sharply define” somewhat conflicts with the “align.”
    True, but at least it rhymes. 😉

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  • I have seen Microsoft built several web sites, such as and, (might have the second one wrong, been a while) specifically for testing and then demonstrating new technologies. Contoso was used for demonstrating domain and corporate technologies (and still exists as an example in many domain controller products), and the bank site was used to demonstrate the capabilities and use of EVSSL. My expectation is that if this is used for something beyond internal testing, it will be used to demonstrate a new technology – embedded search results maybe? – rather than representing a new branding. I haven’t seen Microsoft drop the MS brand in any of their offerings in the past, and personally I would be shocked if they did it here.

  • hello

  • Who cares?

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