Kara Swisher’s Microsoft spies have been good enough to send her the Kumo search memo from Satya Nadella. Satya asks his comrades to help test Microsoft’s new search service, codenamed Kumo (screenshots here).
Kara has the full, uninterrupted memo here. We’re going to add some thoughts (in blue) below:
From: Satya Nadella
Sent: Monday, March 02, 2009 4:18 PM
To: Microsoft – All Employees (QBDG)
Subject: Announcement: Internal Search Test Experience
The Search team needs you. We’ve been working hard to improve our search service and want to share the progress we are making with you. We are launching a new test program called kumo.com for employees to try and provide feedback. Kumo.com exists only inside the corporate network, and in order to get enough feedback we will be redirecting internal live.com traffic over to the test site in the coming days. Kumo is the codename we have chosen for the internal test.
[We can still hold out hope that it’s not the name for the external service?]
In spite of the progress made by search engines, 40% of queries go unanswered; half of queries are about searchers returning to previous tasks; and 46% of search sessions are longer than 20 minutes. These and many other learnings suggest that customers often don’t find what they need from search today.
[OK, here is where we are going to fundamentally disagree with Microsoft. The main reason we think Microsoft has almost no chance of clawing back any meaningful share in the search game is that, unlike Satya, we don’t think today’s search is crappy. On the contrary, we think it is extraordinarily good.
We usually find exactly what we’re looking for within seconds, and if/when we don’t, we just tweak the query and try again. Except when we’re doing an in-depth research project or something, we have NEVER had a search session that lasted more than a few minutes, let alone the 20 minutes that Satya describes as the norm above.
Can search be improved? Of course. But the reason so many companies have tried and failed to chip away at Google’s near-monopoly is that Google does a pretty darn good job. If Microsoft figures out how to do something better, we expect that Google will co-opt the innovation within weeks. So we have a real problem with Satya’s fundamental premise here.]
We believe we can provide a better and more useful search experience that helps you not just search but accomplish tasks. During the test, features will vary by country, but you’ll see results organised in a way that saves you more time. An explorer pane on the left side of results pages will give you access to tools that help you with your tasks. Other features like single session history and hover preview help accomplish more in search sessions.
Your Next Search…
To get started, visit kumo.com or click one of the samples below to see how it’s possible to find the right results more easily:
· Audi S8
· Taylor Swift
Bose Lifestyle 48
You can also set your search defaults to test site using the instructions here.
Your Feedback is Critical
As employees, you are some of our most informed users and our toughest critics, and we highly value your input and feedback to help us build a better service. You have been an important voice in our efforts, and the feedback you’ve sent us since the company meeting has been amazing.
When you visit kumo.com, at the bottom right corner of the each page you’ll see a feedback badge. We ask that each time you use the test site, click the feedback badge and take a moment to answer four quick and simple questions. Feel free to reach out to give us extra feedback directly on our blog and by mailing sfeed. For answers to common questions make sure to see our FAQ.
We are committed to rapid innovation and improvement. Please give the test site a try, rate the results and let us know what you think.