What is Kumo, and will I Want to Use it?

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Kumo is a Japanese word that can mean both “cloud” and “spider” – but Microsoft is hoping it can translate it into something far more tangible: success in the search engine marketRumours that the world’s most powerful software was planning to refresh its search engine by dubbing it Kumo have been doing the rounds for months, but a report from CNet has finally confirmed that the company is now starting to test the new system internally.

Certainly, a name change wouldn’t phase Microsoft staff, since the company’s search system has already undergone a number of costume changes in recent years as it tries to get some traction to take on Google. It started out as MSN Search, and then became Windows Live Search before its current monicker was adopted in 2006.

While Kumo is just a codename for now (visitors to Kumo.com are greeted with an “access denied” message), the changes it represents could eventually replace Live Search, the company’s current search engine.

Catching up with its competitors is a tough job, however. In the US search market, Microsoft comes third with 8.5% of all searches; way behind Google on 63% and seriously trailing Yahoo’s 21%.

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