Report: Microsoft to unveil Kumo search engine next week

Microsoft will demonstrate its long-awaited next-generation search technology, code-named Kumo, next week at the D: All Things Digital technology conference, according to reports.
Both The Wall Street Journal and the All Things Digital blog (both owned by News Corp.) are citing unnamed sources saying Kumo will make its official public debut at the conference.

In response to an e-mail seeking confirmation of the reports, a Microsoft spokesperson said the company has nothing new to announce at this time.

For the past two months, Microsoft has been running an internal test of the search technology. However, some of the design changes that are part of that update are now in limited public testing, as one user seemed to discover last week (see screenshot below).

Kumo, a name sources say is not final, is expected to include more than just changes to the look of Microsoft's search engine. Among the expected enhancements is the inclusion of semantic search technology Microsoft got as part of last year's purchase of Powerset.

The software giant has a considerable game of catch-up to play as it has continued to trail Yahoo and Google despite years of investment. According to March numbers from Nielsen Online, Microsoft had 10.3 percent of the U.S. search market, as compared to 15.8 percent for Yahoo and 64.2 percent for Google. (Coincidentally, numbers for April were the same.)

BY Michelle Meyers

Michelle Meyers is an associate editor who tracks online happenings in media, entertainment, and politics. E-mail Michelle.

Staff writer Ina Fried contributed to this report.

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