What is Microsoft Search? And why is it so important?

Arif Bacchus

You’re likely familiar with both Bing and Google, two very popular search engines. However, if you’re part of enterprise or business with an Office 365 subscription, you might have also heard mentions of Microsoft Search.

Even if not, you might have heard of it recently, as Microsoft recently cited it as a reason for its decision in making Bing the default search engine for Chrome users with Office 365 ProPlus.  So, what exactly is Microsoft Search? In this guide, we’ll be kicking off a new series about Microsoft Search, and explain why it’s so important. Let’s dive in!

What is Microsoft Search?

As the name sort of suggests, Microsoft Search is an enterprise search platform. It is designed to bring personalized searches across Office 365, Windows, and Bing. Essentially, Microsoft Search allows you to help you complete what you’re working on, and find things such as files, charts, and help you answer common questions. Microsoft Search also suggests results based on your previous activity in Office 365, and whatever is trending inside your organization. It’s very personal and customized, especially if you’re using the Microsoft 365 suite of products in your workplace or enterprise, as we’re about to describe next.

How does Microsoft Search Work?

As for Microsoft Search works, you can use Microsoft Search from within Office 365 web apps from the search box in the header bar, or even from within Bing. Both will give you a similar experience and the results are powered by the Microsoft Graph to show results relevant to your own experience. In more technical Microsoft terms, this is how Microsoft Search works:

“Microsoft Search processes the query and parses search intent from larger phrases, using Artificial Intelligence (AI) to learn common superfluous phrases users add to their queries that don’t impact their search intent. The search results that the user has permission to see are presented on the search results page. Microsoft Search uses intelligent ranking algorithms to order results based on relevance.”

This means that, in a real situation, when you click that search box within Office 365 and enter your query, you’ll get results based on your previous Office 365 activities. You get results specific to whatever Office 365 app you have open. For instance, that could be a file in SharePoint, a document that you emailed in Outlook, or even a company-specific term or lingo that you have mentioned. As we said, Microsoft Search pulls information from across all Microsoft products, including SharePoint, Microsoft OneDrive for Business, and Microsoft Exchange Server.

Microsoft Search also works in Bing, if you’ve signed in with your Office 365 account. You’ll be able to use the Bing search box to look for the same content as the Office 365 search box. Results will be listed on the top of the usual public search results.

Why is it Microsoft Search so important, and what are the benefits?

So, why is Microsoft Search so important? It comes down to one thing. Unlike Bing or Google (which are public search engines) Microsoft Search is able to index your internal files on Office 365 and lets you find the things you’ve been working on using all of Microsoft’s products. It lets you search across Microsoft 365 from any search box and get back to what you’re working on. It’s easy to use and makes it simple to find share files, relevant content, and is on by default. IT Admins can even tinker with Microsoft Search to show more useful content, external content, and customize the user experience. It’s truly powerful, and you can learn more by checking the Microsoft Search website here.