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Screenshots of Kumo leaked earlier this year reveal a search engine similar to Google/Yahoo with more related search features.  (Source: BusinessInsider)
Search engine reportedly will receive another odd name, be subject of major advertising push

Microsoft stole headlines early this year when screenshots of its new Kumo search engine were leaked.  The engine looked to reinvent the search engine wheel, while sporting a quirky name to boot.  However, as it nears launch, it now looks that Microsoft may cast the Kumo name aside and throw another equally bizarre name in its place as it prepares to launch the new engine.  Welcome to Microsoft Bing.

Reports indicate that Microsoft will rename Kumo to a finalized brand name Bing.  In order to promote Bing, Microsoft reportedly is planning an $80M to $100M USD online, TV, print, and radio advertising push, according to AdAge.  As AdAge points out, that total would be more than Google's entire 2008 advertising budget of $25M USD.

Inspired by the success of its "Laptop Hunter" commercials against competitor Apple, Microsoft is hoping that a similar push might convince users to forsake Google and take up Bing.  However, the new ads will reportedly not name any competitors -- not Google, Yahoo, or even 

Rather, they will state to users that "today's search engines" aren't good enough.  Microsoft cites its studies which indicate that 42 percent of searches have to be refined, while 25 percent of post-search clicks result in the user hitting the back button to return to the search page.

As with Kumo, Bing will add "related categories" to the search experience in hopes of having the user find their final desired search easier.  For example, a search for Dave Matthews Band might yield "lyrics", "biography", or "albums" as suggested modifiers.

While the idea is certainly creative, some critics say it won't be enough to beat Google and smaller player Yahoo.  Google has already launched similar tools and Yahoo looks to launch similar ones within a couple months.  However, when it comes to Kumo/Bing, no one really knows quite how well it will do as Microsoft has been extremely secretive about the engine -- few outside its CEO and the engine's designers have seen it.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer will reportedly introduce Bing officially at the D: All Things Digital conference, which will run from May 26 to May 28.  He will try to convince users to stop "Googling" and start "Binging."

He and his company face a tough road ahead, though, in the search business.  While very successful in the operating system, office software, and video game businesses, Microsoft has struggled in the search market, unable to generate significant search market share.  Last year saw the drama of Microsoft courting Yahoo and subsequently committing to a half-hearted takeover attempt, which it hoped would lead to a combined competitor capable of challenging Google.  Ultimately the deal unraveled and Microsoft was forced to go its own way, creating Kumo/Bing. 

If the site succeeds it will likely be billed as brilliant move from Microsoft, but if it fails to do so it will merely join the failed pursuit of Yahoo and other highlights in Microsoft's long history of struggles in the search business.

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RE: A toaster goes bing...
By oTAL on 5/26/2009 11:36:49 AM , Rating: 3
+1 for the Sopranos reference.

I Hope MS brings something new to the table. I still find it hard to find really specific stuff on occasion. For example, as soon as the Creative Zen came out it was close to impossible to find a review since the results of your search would include all the reviews to the "zen muvos" and the other "zen something" products (really stupid move to have a Zen product family and then launch a Zen product...). nVidia recently launched a professional graphics card with the 5800 moniker. If you look for nvidia 5800 you get lots of ancient reviews of the ol' hairdryer card back from about 6 years ago.

I wish Google would deal with timelines better... at least they are trying to improve in that direction...

RE: A toaster goes bing...
By mondo1234 on 5/26/2009 9:04:59 PM , Rating: 2
I Hope MS brings something new to the table.

I agree with you on that point. The only reason to start one is so you could sell the advertising space. I think google is too firmly entrenched in search. The highest form of recognition comes when your name becomes a verb. "Just Google it" is like "Just Photoshop it".

Will I be able to "Just google it on Bing"?

Microsoft cites its studies which indicate that 42 percent of searches have to be refined

Does that mean with Live Search? Where do you get accurate statistics on refined google searches? If that is the reason that MS is using for Bing, its an education issue with the public. There are a lot of guides that tell you how to improve your searches with Google. You can always do an advanced search.
I dont see this as the same thing as taking on Apple. I mean MS is advertising against a very successful company that makes its living with, well, advertising seems odd.

"We are going to continue to work with them to make sure they understand the reality of the Internet.  A lot of these people don't have Ph.Ds, and they don't have a degree in computer science." -- RIM co-CEO Michael Lazaridis

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