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Microsoft Search + Kumo, More Big Things from Microsoft? Don't Hold Your Breath
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
How many of you would agree with me when I say that Microsoft dropped the ball with Search? Like for example, is it me or do they re-brand their Search product every four years? C'mon people it's not the Olympics, it's Search. Does the average user relate to Microsoft's Search product as MSN, Microsoft Search, Windows Live, MSN Search, Windows Live Search, or Live Search? Of course there were the Micro-Hoo rumors as well. Now enter Kumo? Sheesh where will it end? No wonder people are confused.

Every year we keep hearing about the big things that are coming from Microsoft with regards to Search, and every year there is nothing. They still have about an 8-9% market share and they still have not dealt with relevancy issues that plague their search products... but they're working on it. That is apparently to this interview with Stefan Weitz a member of Microsoft's search team.
"We're not at where we'd like to be," Weitz began, and then dove in to explain that people are generally happy with how their search engine is working, until the data shows that they are not. In the last 6 to 12 months, Microsoft has learned that only about a quarter of users are satisfied with the results of their first query, about half end up having to refine their query or start with a completely different one, and another quarter abandon their search altogether. At first I thought this data was largely incorrect, and then I remembered how some of my friends used web search. It's actually spot on. What Microsoft is saying here is that everyone should be able to find what they are looking for on their first attempt, every time. That's a goal Live Search is nowhere near reaching.
The author of the piece, Emil Protalinksi, suggests
While that didn't blow my socks off, the interview only further increased my suspicion that Microsoft has quite a bit up their sleeve with Kumo, especially since it's only available to the company's employees. Whether I end up using Kumo or Live Search as my main search engine isn't what I'm really looking forward to here. What many users, including myself, really want is a real competitor to Google, so that web search can seriously start moving forward and so that something better than the "10 blue links" can finally emerge.
I think that the world is ready for a richer search experience. Whether that comes from Microsoft, Google Yahoo or ASK for that matter, Search is more than just 10 blue links. It's about finding the information that you are looking for at the right time, the right place and in the right format.

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posted by Jody @ Wednesday, March 18, 2009  
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