Live Search to get new features…oh and a new brand, too

Live Search, keeping to a Spring and Fall update schedule, is set to unveil its new name sometime this spring, and now thanks to Twitter it is more than just rumor.  We’ve been hearing about a possible rebrand for quite some time, and Kumo.com, the Japanese term for “cloud” (or spider, depending) might be slated to become the new brand for Live Search.  While that may still be possible, we’re not so sure, but what we are pretty sure about is that a new name is coming.  One Microsoft exec even got a little carried away and confirmed it via Twitter:

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That executive subsequently took the message down, but not before we caught a screenshot (did we tell you how much we like Twitter Search?).  Recently Live Search has been rolling out a number of tests, which may or may not be a part of those “new features and UX” coming with the new release, code named “Kiev”.  We showed you the home page image pager (which continues to pop in and out of our live.com home pages here), and some of our astute readers have caught glimpses of other changes as well.  Imran spotted a search history on the results page:

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..and Albert spotted Live Search results all decked out in a new font, and pointed them out in a comment:

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Over at Search Engine Land, Vanessa Fox spotted some more changes, as well.  Vanessa spotted two new features, Best Match and Categorized Listings.  Well worth the read, check it out.

And so while we’re still not quite sure when the new brand and new features will be announced, we may well know more soon.  In one last nod to Twitter for this post, “Karenyo”, (edit: Karen Young of the MVP program: hey fill out your Twitter profile, ok Karen? :)) who was onstage at Sunday night’s MVP Summit keynote, gave MVP Summit attendees (and us, too) a hint that Steve Ballmer may be set to reveal a bit more on Wednesday:

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We’ll be paying close attention to the #MVP09 hashtag this week, for sure ;)