Microsoft Begins Testing New Search Engine Kumo.com Internally: Reports

Software giant Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) has launched a new test program, now codenamed as Kumo, and began testing it internally, according to several media reports on Monday.

As per the reports, the Kumo.com is nothing but the restructured version of Microsoft's Live Search, its search engine site, as it tries hard to improve from its third place position and overcome rival Google's (GOOG) near monopoly and Yahoo's (YHOO) share of the search site market. Kumo is a Japanese word that means spider.

The media reports cited a memo sent Monday to all Microsoft employees by Satya Nadella, senior vice president, Research and Development, Online Services Division, asking them to help test the new search service program, and thereafter provide a feedback on their Internal Search Test Experience.

As of now, Kumo.com exists only inside the corporate network, and to get enough feedback, all traffic over internal live.com would be redirected to the test site in the coming days, Nadella reportedly stated in his memo.

Nadella further noted in his memo that "a better and more useful search experience" needs to be provided, as the current set of existent search engines have failed to provide satisfactory services to the customers.

Nadella noted, "In spite of the progress made by search engines, 40% of queries go unanswered; half of queries are about searchers returning to previous tasks; and 46% of search sessions are longer than 20 minutes. These and many other learnings suggest that customers often don't find what they need from search today."

The reports further stated that the long-expected upgrade to Microsoft's Live Search product is being tested for a public rollout later this year.

Last year in February, Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft made an unsuccessful attempt to buy Yahoo for $47.5 billion. Yahoo spurned the Microsoft offer and tried to broker an advertising deal with Google in June. Later, Microsoft also made another unsuccessful attempt to take over the search engine operations of Yahoo. Around the same time, Yahoo also discussed a combination with AOL, but the talks did not proceed.

MSFT closed Monday's regular trading on Nasdaq at $ 15.79, down $0.36, or 2.23%, on a volume of 80.6 million shares, but recovered in the after-hours' trading period by $0.03, or 0.19%, to close at $15.82.

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