Kara Swisher

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Would Microsoft's New Search Name Smell as Sweet if It Were Named After a Cherry or a Soprano?


What’s in a name?

Well, a lot, actually, and BoomTown supposes it would be just like those Pacific Northwest types at Microsoft to name the new version of its search service “Bing,” presumably after the cherry that is a big product in the company’s home state.

That moniker is one of many being bandied about in a group the software giant could be considering for the big relaunch of its search service, which the company has been prepping.

Microsoft’s search service is currently called–zzzzz–Live Search.

“All About Microsoft” crack blogger Mary-Jo Foley of ZDNet recently wrote about the Bing name, which is registered to the company, as well as “Hook” and the one that Microsoft is using now as its test name, Kumo.

Kumo means “cloud” and “spider” in Japanese, which seems a wee bit esoteric.

Today, paidContent.org dropped “Sift” into the mix, although it seems to be related to mobile phones, along with “Swivel.”

I, for one, am feeling both like flour and getting dizzy at the thought of those names.

Foley at ZDnet feels the same, noting today in a post:

“(Would Microsoft be crazy enough to trademark its general Web search engine and its search engine for mobile with two different names, say Bing and Sift? As Windows Live has shown, truth can be stranger than fiction….)”

Microsoft (MSFT), of course, is keeping the name for its search service under tight wraps, but it is obviously going to be spending a shipload of money on its branding in another attempt to catch market leaders Google (GOOG) and Yahoo (YHOO).

Microsoft has been recently talking to Yahoo about a search partnership deal, although they are likely both to keep their brands and search products in any event.

Nonetheless, execs and minions in the know laugh at me loudly when I ask them to leak it to me.

(Note to anyone at Microsoft: Pretty please, someone leak it to me, even if it’s in the form of a memo from the leaky cauldron that is Yahoo.)


I doubt someone will, though. “It’s like Fort Knox secret,” said one Softie source, referring to the Kentucky fortress where the largest amount of the United States gold reserves are stored.

Hey, if Auric Goldfinger, OddJob and Pussy Galore could get into Fort Knox in that most excellent James Bond film, I can certainly find out the name of Microsoft’s search service!

Personally, I like Bing, and cherries from Washington state are indeed tasty (and coming soon too!)

According to the Heart of Washington Web site, its state’s cherries rate. Some fun factoids:

– Washington State produces more than 50 percent of all the sweet cherries in the United States.
– The Rainier cherry, which is yellow with a red blush, was made from a cross between two dark red cherries, the Van and Bing.
– Americans eat approximately 2.6 pounds of cherries per year.
– There are approximately 53 pitted cherries in one pound of cherries.
– The Bing cherry, which all cherries are measured against, was first developed in 1874 in Milwaukie, Ore.
– The Bing cherry was named after one of Seth Lewelling’s workers. The Bing cherry was developed by Seth Lewelling.
– Washington cherries are shipped around the world; the top three foreign markets are Canada, Taiwan and Japan.
– In 2001, there were 29,000 acres of sweet cherries in the state.
– The Washington cherry season begins in late May with some product seen at farmer’s markets. Commercial shipping begins around June 5, and will continue until mid-August. The peak of the season runs from June 20 to Aug. 1.


Plus, if Microsoft uses Bing, they could also rebrand their MSN online service, “Bada” and their email product, “Boom.”

Then, they can get Tony Soprano as their spokesman with the motto: “Bada Bing, Bada Boom, Notta Bada Algorithm!”

Or better still: “If you use Google, we’ll whack you!”

Now, that’s more like it.

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I’m a giant vat of creative juices.

— David Pogue on why he’s joining Yahoo