MS ‘to announce new search engine’ next week

Seattle, WA – Rumors are rife that Microsoft boss Steve Ballmer will use next week’s Wall Street Journal All Things Digital Conference in Carlsbad, California, to unveil the software giant’s new search engine.

Codenamed Kumo – which either means ‘spider’ or ‘cloud’ in Japanese depending on what translation software you use – the search engine has been under test for several months and was hinted at in broad terms by Ballmer at TechEd 2009 India a few weeks back.

Kumo is supposed to return search results ‘in a more organized manner’, whatever that means. Yahoo also has plans to improve its search engine with data like addresses, photos and ‘real world’ information rather than just a list of URLs and Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz is billed to appear alongside Ballmer at the same conference.

Microsoft’s will they, won’t they? wooing of Yahoo continues to smoulder tantalizingly in the background.

But whatever Kumo turns out to be, Microsoft has an uphill struggle to catch Yahoo, let alone Google, in the search engine wars. The waters were further muddied by this week’s launch of Wolfram Alpha.