As Microsoft inches closer to the expected June rebranding and launch of the latest iteration of its search engine, company officials are sharing selective bits and pieces of what the Redmondians are planning.
In an April 8 Wall Street Journal story about Microsoft's search-branding challenges , Yusuf Mehdi, the Senior Vice President of Microsoft’s Online Audience Business Group, mentioned "Kiev." Kiev, a codename I first heard about via LiveSide, seems to be the uber-brand for Microsoft's upcoming search release. Kumo, the codename for the search-engine component, is one piece of Kiev, Mehdi confirmed with the Journal.
(Other Kiev components, I've heard, include the vertical search areas where Microsoft has been focusing its attentions -- product search, celebrity search, travel and healthcare. I'm not sure what the codenames are for the next releases of each of those elements....or if each vertical has a separate codename.)
From what I'm hearing from various quarters, "Kumo" is looking less and less likely to be the final new name for Live Search. Users, current and potential, just don't seem that keen on it. Bing is now sounding like the leading candidate. (But Bing also could end up as the new brand for Microsoft local search/mapping, based on how Microsoft recently applied for the Bing trademark.)
Unless Microsoft has yet another search name hidden away, I'm now betting Bing is not just a "Plan B" but is likely to be Microsoft's new search brand.