Microsoft to demo Kumo search next week

Looks like we're finally going to get a glimpse of Microsoft's new search technology, code-named Kumo, at next week's D: All Things Digital conference in Carlsbad, Calif. Even Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is scheduled to appear on stage during the three-day event. But even if Microsoft pulls out all the marketing stops, does Kumo really have a chance when it comes to challenging Google in search?

According to the D: All Things Digital blog, the Kumo demo is just part of the three-day technology-focused event, which is hosted by AllThingsD.com's Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher. While Microsoft declined to comment, the demo is scheduled to go on, according to "sources with knowledge of the event."

From all reports, it looks as though Kumo offers some neat new features, like organizing search results in various categories across a page, but it's still Microsoft Live Search at its heart. And that's just not been good enough for most users. For example, Mike Ducasy, a commenter to the Wall St. Journal post about the Kumo demo says:

I tried Kumo (as new version is known internally) and I do not think it's a significant improvement over current Live Search. They added some nice new features, but search quality is still clearly worse than Google. I tried to use kumo for a while, but found myself constantly repeating searches on Google - Kumo/Live just could not find what i wanted. What's funny is that I have several friends who work in search org and they say that most people working on Live/Kumo actually use Google for search - so muhc for dogfooding :)

If Microsoft hopes to provide any real competition to Google, it has to think outside the search box and focus on something useful that Google currently can't do. For example, Twitter has hit on a bonanza with its real-time search capabilities. And Wolfram Alpha, which looks at search from a completely new perspective, has garnered a lot of press and enthusiasm. Both technologies improve on Google in new and interesting ways, and they seem to be gaining a bit of traction as a result.

But Microsoft is still set on delivering Google-like search, and so far, it just can't do it as well as Google does. And that's no recipe for success.

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