Screenshots: Live Search 'Kumo Lite' refresh

If you use Live search, you are no doubt well used to the daily background changes that the search engine goes through. Today, a little more than the background changed.

Without so much as a press release or a blog post, Microsoft unlocked a "Kumo Lite" UI refresh for selected public beta testers. We are calling it "Lite" only because there is much more to come in the upcoming full Live Search refresh, which is codenamed "Kumo".

The screen shot above is the new homepage for live.com. As you can see there is a new left hand navigation panel with a few new options. One of them being "Travel" which is powered by farecast, a travel site recently acquired by Microsoft.

Most of the big changes have to do with how the results are laid out. With the most noticeable change being the navigation panel on the left.

The categories in the upper left hand corner, relate to how the results are laid out on the page. With each category having its own section on the results page.


Live Search also puts the "Best Match" at the very top of the page, in this case the official Zune.net site. If you are searching for a product, it displays a gallery of matching items on the results page .

So far, this "Kumo Lite" is looking good. With only a few weeks to go before Microsoft takes the wraps off its Live Search refresh, we shall see if it has the stuff to go head to head with Google.... What do you think? Will "Kumo" be a boom.... or a bust?

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I don't like the Kumo UI, I love the Live Search UI much more better. Just based on the screenshots, I don't like that:
1. Search categories are listed to the left on the homepage - They should be somewhere adjacent to the search box, or else I have to move my cursor all the way over there. Not convenient.
2. Don't like elements of the search results page - I don't like the background peeking at me in the top left corner (distraction), I prefer to list all the results and not include web results I didn't even look up for, even if it is related to my query (like if searching for "Zune", I don't want results from "Zune images").

Whatever it turns out to be, I really do hope it makes web results better, rather than include a bunch of distractions. Live Search excels at photo and video search, but there still needs to be more improvement, and I have doubts based on these screenshots. I could do a better job with the design of a search engine.

You know, I really hate the huge gray border. On my 24" monitor about 75% of the window is this ugly gray border like something is missing.

Parents Should block LIVE SEARCH and KUMO- Due to the fact that by default there is NO filter on by default

Well without being signed into my Live account and also tested the same in a Virtual Box fresh install of Puppy LInux.I tested it again that way just to make sure there was no trace of cookies or any other configuration.
Found the following:

A search for "Mature Wines"- I was looking for a price lists or brands of wines plus how long they take to mature.

Upon typing "Matu" the the auto complete gave me some unwanted results- Adult topics. By default the search page should filter out those results. Even does the same when you goto type the word Maturity. Gives results links to Adult sites.
I would expect that on google if I turned off the filter. The filter is not default on to filter those results. I am an Adult but I was thinking about a child using the page.

Google does the same thing even with it's moderate filter default, suggesting mature singles, mature games, mature dating, mature anime, mature games online and my "favorite": mature women over 40 site when i typed in "matu."

Even if i really like Microsoft and dislike google, live search is really a pain to use and the results are usually strange. Kumo looks promising btw.

I agree with this. I think the current Live Search design, in countries where it does not display the background picture and facts, is awful as well as Google's. "Kumo" looks really nice - I just hope they provide the background picture and facts for all countries.

IMHO:

Before anything,Microsoft must fix their damn search feature in their very own microsoft.com site. Microsoft.com site is awful, disfunctional and sometimes the only way to point to a some webpage is to use google.

Magallanes said,
IMHO:

Before anything,Microsoft must fix their damn search feature in their very own microsoft.com site. Microsoft.com site is awful, disfunctional and sometimes the only way to point to a some webpage is to use google.


Internal search and external search are rather different things.

Kirkburn is right, however I still agree with you Mag. MS's own site search is bad, as is Intel's, Asus's (why did I choose 3 examples ending in S!) - all of these internal search features work poorly, and while I dont understand fully why they cant organise and index their site just as well as a normal internet search engine would, I know it is a completely different kettle-o-fish.

seebaran said,
*sigh*

Why do they keep trying? Why?


I don't know, because they feel they can provide a better product? Because monopolies are bad? Because competition is good for the marketplace?

Kirkburn said,

I don't know, because they feel they can provide a better product? Because monopolies are bad? Because competition is good for the marketplace?

Not to mention that it's good to have a choice because some of us (me, haha) despise using Google because of its ugly design. This new "Kumo" is sexy!

While that does look really nice (and with broadband speeds over 2MB that make it load practically as fast as you could need), I still prefer google for one thing:

When you search in google, if the result is within 8 items, you dont need to scroll to get to it (screen res 1280x1024). With that live search, unless the item you want is in the best match result, you need to scroll down until you find it. This is only seconds worth, but thats a lot compared to how long it takes to search for something on Google.

I like the UI of it before you search for anything, that looks really simplistic, speedy and pretty. Soon as the results come up, thats when it all falls apart for me for Live Search.

pasty2k2 said,
While that does look really nice (and with broadband speeds over 2MB that make it load practically as fast as you could need), I still prefer google for one thing:

When you search in google, if the result is within 8 items, you dont need to scroll to get to it (screen res 1280x1024). With that live search, unless the item you want is in the best match result, you need to scroll down until you find it. This is only seconds worth, but thats a lot compared to how long it takes to search for something on Google.

I like the UI of it before you search for anything, that looks really simplistic, speedy and pretty. Soon as the results come up, thats when it all falls apart for me for Live Search.


Maybe you won't have to scroll often at all if they are improving the relavancy of results.

Won't the 'best match' be all that is needed for most, if not all, searches you perform?

I do like Live Search's homepage with a new picture every day and some random facts about the place or thing. With regards to results, they do differ between the two but in a bad way, I'm not so sure it's black and white. Something I notice is Google just puts Wikipedia up as far as possible were as Live Search doesn't. It's good for most people because they like Wiki for simple straight forward info though whether it's accurate blah blah.

I'm actually liking the look of the menu bar on the side in these new shots. One thing MS needs to do is make the search universal. I see no such pictures in Live Search UK. We still have multi map and not Live Search Maps. Once again, Microsoft is all over the place with features and UI that should be standard everywhere.

WooHoo!!! said,
I do like Live Search's homepage with a new picture every day and some random facts about the place or thing. With regards to results, they do differ between the two but in a bad way, I'm not so sure it's black and white. Something I notice is Google just puts Wikipedia up as far as possible were as Live Search doesn't. It's good for most people because they like Wiki for simple straight forward info though whether it's accurate blah blah.

I'm actually liking the look of the menu bar on the side in these new shots. One thing MS needs to do is make the search universal. I see no such pictures in Live Search UK. We still have multi map and not Live Search Maps. Once again, Microsoft is all over the place with features and UI that should be standard everywhere.


Strongly agree with you.

Live Search Hong Kong has simply NO pictures at background, and in previous time, the search results from HK version and US version is totally different (even with same keyword!). They really need to make improvement on this, as I live in Hong Kong, not US!

Very hard to convince people to move. People use Google because they are comfortable. Live Search seems nice, but the thing has to provide results in better way.

darkmanx21 said,
Very hard to convince people to move. People use Google because they are comfortable. Live Search seems nice, but the thing has to provide results in better way.
As one of the people your referring to, I don't use google because I'm "comfortable", I use google because it provides accurate results, live doesn't even come close to doing that. Unless they change this in "kumo" its destined to fail as well.

Kirbeh said,
Yeah. I didn't get invited to this but I discovered a way to get into it :D

How? Pretty please, with a cherry on top :)

I have been using Live Search for months.

Frankly speaking, I found what I would like to find in most cases.

Sometimes I couldn't find results I wanted in Live Search and then I searched for information in Google with same keywords, the result is quite similar. Giving correct/ relevant keyword is important.

The weakness of Live Search is that, sometimes it cannot suggest me "correct" words if I typed wrong one.

GraphiteCube said,
I have been using Live Search for months.

Frankly speaking, I found what I would like to find in most cases.

Sometimes I couldn't find results I wanted in Live Search and then I searched for information in Google with same keywords, the result is quite similar. Giving correct/ relevant keyword is important.

The weakness of Live Search is that, sometimes it cannot suggest me "correct" words if I typed wrong one.


Hopefully that will change in the upcoming, full, refresh

Ahhh, Google can do no wrong.

Except when they make a daily mockery of their own "motto" but what fan pays attention to that logic?

C_Guy said,
Ahhh, Google can do no wrong.

Except when they make a daily mockery of their own "motto" but what fan pays attention to that logic?


As much as I despise Google, I'm interested as to what you mean by "make a daily mockery of their own 'motto'", C_Guy? I don't understand.

Fubar said,
You know what they say, you can polish a turd but it's still a turd when it's all said and done...

Yes, I'm sure that's totally accurate, as all they're doing is improving the results, presentation and abilities. Which totally isn't what search websites are about. (Which apparently is: whether or not they are Google).

Even the most computer-illiterate people I know avoid Live search like the plague.
Until they get it to actually provide some semi-decent results, this all seems futile.

I couldn't agree with this enough. :-/ I keep reading these kind of articles, but still don't know how their ranking algorithm compares. Is it updated since the current iteration of Live Search?

I get the information im looking for from Google, Live, and Yahoo between the first and third page of the results and they are almost the same between the companies.

Jugalator said,
I couldn't agree with this enough. :-/ I keep reading these kind of articles, but still don't know how their ranking algorithm compares. Is it updated since the current iteration of Live Search?

In the final refresh they have updated a lot of backend things and the relevance of results is supposed to be better :)

I really hope they will be as I despise using Google and "Kumo's" new UI is really attractive.