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Microsoft Confirms Live Search Overhaul, But Will It Be Enough?

This story was written by Tameka Kee.
*Microsoft* CEO Steve Ballmer recently conceded that it would be difficult for the company to gain ground in search without a *Yahoo* partnership this yearbut that's not stopping the company from trying everything to get people to use Live Search, including overhauling it.

There have rumors about a possible rebranding of Live Search since mid-2008, when ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley broke the news that Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) was down to three possible choices for a name change: Bing, Hook and Kumo; the speculation increased once the Live Side blog discovered that Microsoft had bought the domain in November and was using it for internal testing.

Now, a Tweet (of all things) confirms that the overhaul is real: Microsoft search strategist Barney Pell leaked that he'd "played with" the to-be-relaunched Live Search beta (per the Seattle P-I); Live Side adds details on some of the other features in the relaunch, including a running "search history" module, categorized listings and a new font. But for Live Search, Kumo, or whatever it will be called to attract a significant influx of users, the changes will need to more than cosmetic, Microsoft has to improve the underlying search technologyboosting both the speed, relevance and depth of its resultsto get the people to stay on past the initial "wow, this is a cool rebrand" phase. Microsoft is currently a very distant third in search behind Google (NSDQ: GOOG) and Yahoo.

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By Tameka Kee