Will Microsoft Build a Better Magnifying Glass?

Not to be outdown by the likes of Google and Wolfram Alpha, Microsoft appears to be unveiling its new search engine next week at the Wall Street Journal’s D: All Things D tech conference in Carlsbad, California, according to Resource Shelf.

The engine’s code name is Kumo, but it is really a rebranding of Microsoft Live Search conjoined with its new semantic ally, Powerset. And guess what? It is going to help us find more relevant results! The screenshots over at All Things Digital / Boomtown show a clean, spare look. PC World reports a three-column search results page with useful tools like related searches, a “single-session search history for quick backtracking”, and other related categories tied to your search inquiry. PC World uses an example of searching for a recording artist with results that include song lyrics, tickets, albums and the artist’s biography. Or searching for a product with results including images, reviews and product manuals.

Will Kumo stand or fall amidst the search stars? Not sure, but I can say this: more semantic competitors add up to us edging closer to a truly semantic on-line world! Kudos to Kumo!!!!

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Guess What? Traditional Search Engine Reviews are Flawed! What Does That Say About the Engine?

Live Search Mobile
Image via Wikipedia

Image via Wikipedia

Fascinating post by Louis Gray, over louisgray.com, one of my favorite blogs about all things Web and social media-related. Apparently, Microsoft hosted a get-together Tuesday evening about semantic search engine Powerset and its incorporation into Microsoft’s Live Search. One of the topics discussed was how search engine reviewers perform their “craft” and how ineffective their process really is in gleaning an understanding of this complex endeavor. And the effect of this inefficient review might be to sink the better option.

This result seems particularly true as search engines become more complex in design and practice. To truly understand how effective a search engine might be, one needs to spend some time with the engine, put it through its paces and delve deep into the results. “Teaching” search engines to “think” like humans takes time, and recognizing when the engine “gets it right” should also take time.

As I have said before here, when search engine’s compete to grab out attention, we the researchers stand to win the grand prize. In Louis Gray’s words, for Microsoft, “building the better mousetrap” will only be half the battle in the war of the ‘engines. Can’t wait to see the “results.”

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