Windows Live Search rebrand (say hi to ‘Kumo’)

EDIT: I’ve edited this post since I first published to reflect information released a few days ago from the Live Search team.

From the Windows Live Search team’s official blog.

Many of you have probably seen the press coverage in the last day or so about the internal testing Microsoft employees are doing on our search product. There’s a good deal of excitement brewing over this test, both internally and externally, which we’re always glad to see.

There have been lots of questions about why we’re not opening this test to the public. This sort of internal testing is actually fairly commonplace at Microsoft and something we do with many of our products before we decide to release things publicly. Our hope is that our employees will give us great feedback on our new features and that it all becomes part of the external experience soon.

In the meantime, we thought we’d give you a sneak peek at a screenshot of one of our favorite queries. We’d love to hear your thoughts.

bose lifestyle2

There has also been a fair amount of speculation around the use of the Kumo brand and URL, and whether this means that we are rebranding Live Search. We’re using the Kumo brand and URL for this test experience to make sure employees understand they’re in a test experience. We believe this will encourage more active feedback. As for rebranding, it’s something we’re still considering.

As always, we promise to keep you updated via this blog whenever there are new developments.

Mike Nichols, General Manager, Live Search”

My Impressions

Based on the above:

1 – Moving the ‘Related Searches’ section from the top right hand side to the top left hand side may suggest the Live Search team are focusing on increasing their market share of searches. We know from eye tracking / heatmap studies that the top left hand corner of search result pages get the most attention on search result pages – this makes it prime real estate, so putting ‘related searches’ there makes a bold statement about the search team’s intentions.

2- Windows Live branding has been almost entirely removed from the screenshot of the Kumo beta above (I must admit, even for an insider like me, the Windows Live branding can get confusing). It’ll be interesting to see the final incarnation of the branding in the final release-to-web product.

3 – Ads stay in the same place as in a regular Live Search (top right hand corner, same as Google, which gets significantly less attention that top left hand corner). Yahoo recently moved their ads in line with the search results as a way to differentiate. As an advertiser, you’d probably have hoped ads would get that top left hand spot that gets all the attention rather than the top right hand spot, but oh well.

What do you all think?


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