On the eve of Kumo, is Live Search better than you think?

By Kip Kniskern | Posted May 18, 2009 7 comments

Kumo, the for now name of a newly rebranded Microsoft Live Search, should be upon us soon.  Kumo has been in corporate wide internal testing at Microsoft since early March (oops added the time frame), and at least parts of what appears to be a new UI have been resurfacing.  We don’t have the home page changes here, but in searching for some news on Sunday night’s LA earthquake, we did run across one of the purported new features of “Kumo”, called “Best match”:


Note the smaller search box contained within the best match, for searching within the best match web page.  Vanessa Fox had spotted Best match back in March, but there was no “search within” box back then.

So we wouldn’t be surprised to see more hints at what’s to come in the next few days and weeks, as the countdown clock ticks on.  In the meantime, however, while Live Search US market share continues to remain flat (at somewhere between 6% and 10%, depending on the reporting service), certain aspects of Live Search, in particular cashback, seem to be making an impact.

In a blog post on May 15, Nielsen Online looked at year-over-year growth for product search, and Live Search Product Search and cashback featured strongly:


And so Live Search Cashback was born. With technology derived through Microsoft’s acquisition of Jellyfish.com, the Cashback program immediately took off, driving 140 percent increase in traffic to MSN/Windows Live Shopping Search from the previous month. As many wondered if the novelty would quickly wear off, the Live Shopping Search audience grew 615 percent over the year. Even more impressive: it was one of only two Top Ten Shopping Search Providers to grow their audience from April 2008 to April 2009.

The Nielsen post goes on to say that shopping search is a small part of overall search share, noting that “searches conducted on shopping-specific engines only comprise between one and two percent of total search activity”.  However, as Jellyfish.com founder Mark McGuire says in a blog post reacting to the Nielsen post:

Use cashback when you want to buy something and Microsoft shares advertising revenue back with you.  The end result of this is that more folks use Live search for commercial queries, leaving Google with non-commercial search traffic (e.g., when I need to find the address of my local public library I go to Google, when I’ve got my credit card in hand, I search at Live cashback).  The data published by Nielsen backs this up, showing that Live Search is the most efficient engine at generating sales for its advertisers.  This is small now, but think about what happens if Microsoft can continue to siphon off commercial queries, and the big amount of ad dollars chasing those queries.

Posted May 18th, 2009 at 6:53 pm
Category: News
Tags: Cashback, Kumo, Live Search
  • http://tstsrvr/members/danz32/default.aspx danz32

    Another great examle like this (but not best match) that I just recently found was when I searched “amc cinemas” on Live search. It automatically detected the closest AMC Cinema to my current location and listed the location and phone number of the cinema as well as all the showtimes. Pretty neat

  • http://tstsrvr/members/jagster/default.aspx jagster

    I hope they are leaving the feature where they put up a new awesome image for the background. I wish they made a desktop theme that would change the desktop wallpaper to match the Live.com image.

  • http://tstsrvr/members/JohnCz/default.aspx JohnCz

    @jagster, you should post your suggestion on feedback.live.com This probably should be installed as part of Windows Live Essentials. I’d take it one step further. Keep the last 5 days of Live Search images on your system and have it cycle throughout the day. The main problem with a feature like this is that it won’t be optimal for every screen resolution.

  • http://tstsrvr/members/betsya/default.aspx betsya

    Hi all,

    Thanks for the writeup Liveside and the feedback commenters’ points. It’s always good for us to hear what people think! Feel free to leave any product feedback you like at blogs.msdn.com/livesearch as well!

    Betsy Aoki, Live Search

  • http://tstsrvr/members/Kip-Kniskern/default.aspx Kip Kniskern

    @jagster – remember the pager that some of our readers spotted? http://www.liveside.net/…/live-com-images-pager-coming-soon.aspx

    @betsya – thanks for stopping by!

  • http://www.liveside.net/members/nikhil_5F00_jain/default.aspx nikhil_jain

    Last week i discover one new simple feature

  • http://www.liveside.net/members/Zeppy/default.aspx zeppy

    Last week I noticed that the layout of Live Search has changed on one of my computers. My other computers still get the old layout for some reason.

    I have been using the new layout for some days now.. I love it.

    Here are a few screenshots of what it looks like: