Microsoft will soon be launching its next attempt in trying to capture a greater share of the search market. There has been a lot of news lately in relation to the various search engines; last week saw the launch of Wolfram Alpha, the week before was the news of Google starting to index ‘Rich Snippets’ (Microformats and RDFa data).
Microsoft has been testing Kumo (the Microsoft internal name for the new search algorithm and front end) for a number of months. Kumo means ‘spider’ which is apt enough but it is unlikely that Kumo will be the name at release. It’s more than likely that the live name will be retained.
With Kumo, Microsoft has the aim of making organic search results more relevant to the search string entered. They are doing this via two means:
- Categorising data on the left of the screen. A search for ‘Sydney’ for example would ordinarily return results for people named Sydney, the city Sydney and so on. The categories presented with the organic search results in Kumo will assist the searcher to narrow down the SERP (Search engine Results Page) content by category by clicking on the appropriate category.
- Relevance. Kumo will, Microsoft say, be far better at identifying the meaning of data. For example, Kumo will be better at being able to distinguish a place name from a person from a product etc.
Without having used Kumo (it isn’t available to the public) it is obviously difficult to give an objective review of Kumo. From what may be gleaned from the Microsoft and other communication regarding Kumo it doesn’t seem like Google nor Yahoo should be too concerned; the screen shots provided bring serious deja-vu (Kumo looks like and categorises like Clusty) and both Yahoo and Google both are indexing ‘rich snippets’ (Microformats and RDFa) assisting them make very serious inroads to bring relevance to data.
We’ll have to wait until next week to get to search with Kumo. Microsoft is going to have to spring a few surprises with Kumo to avoid disappointing the public as the launch of Wolfram Alpha has done. Clusty has done for years what Kumo does. The ‘son of Clusty’ is in for a tough time!