Microsoft to show “Kumo” next week?

The Wall St. Journal is reporting today that Microsoft is expected to show for the first time publically its new search effort, code named Kumo, at “D: All Things Digital”.  The technology conference, hosted by All Things D bloggers Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher, is being held May 26 – 28 in Carlsbad, California, and features a number of big names in tech, including Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Yahoo! CEO Carol Bartz, Twitter founders Evan Williams and Biz Stone, and many others.

kumo1_178974e3 Bing

(screenshot via Neowin)

Kumo-like features, including “Best match”, a new look home page, Farecast integration, and more have been spotted in the wild recently.  Neowin writer Ryan Rea (and yes he jumped ship after a short but sweet stint here at LiveSide, we wish him well) has screenshots.  Similar to when Kumo (the code name for the new search, there are lots of rumors bubbling that the final product will carry a new “top secret” name) was first rolled out internally in March, these new features seem to need external testing just when it’s time to generate some buzz.

While Microsoft indeed may show Kumo at All Things D (and the report does go on to say “A Microsoft spokesman declined to comment”), we still think it’s a fair bet that Live Search v.Next is still targeting an early June launch, to coincide with Qi Lu’s keynote at SMX Advanced, and hitting the countdown clock.  Seeing it next week will be one thing, but we won’t really know how it performs until we can get our hands on it.