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 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 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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