Redundancy within a big company can be inevitable, but Microsoft has been working to simplify their products to use common backends and tools. One recent example of this simplification can be found within Office help topics now being powered by Bing. Searching for help in Office can be painful and inefficient not to mention easier to do via a modern browser and search engine. So now Microsoft aims to make searching help faster, relevant, recent, and state of the art.
Search within Office has been a portal to a HTML-based search and topics system where users can search online help topics for their issues. Bing now replaces that old search method that should make searching for help a better experience overall. Using a modern web search engine like Bing has advantages because help topics are added every day, and Bing is constantly crawling the web for new websites. Bing also has more capabilities within Microsoft to add features and improve results for years to come.
These search improvements can be accessed via the standard help UI or the Tell-Me box in Office Online. Since these help windows use the web for their help topics, Microsoft has been able to deliver this update to Office 2007, 2010, 2013, and Office Online. Bing has been Microsoft’s search tool for years now, and synergy like this are ways Microsoft can improve user experience while leveraging existing products and investments. This move to apply the changes for older products further highlights Microsoft’s commitment to their Office products that remain one of the biggest sources of revenue for the company.
Bing has been fading from Microsoft’s forward facing consumer story into the backend where big data is king. Cortana has been becoming Bing’s front end on Project Spartan, Windows 10, and Window Phone and now Bing is slipping into Office too. There was and has been lots of animosity toward Bing because it existed so apparently as Microsoft copying Google, but now years later the actual necessity for Bing as the backend for a range of products becomes clear. Microsoft needed to build a powerful and capable search product; now they are investing those resources in their other products to deliver a consistent and natural experience for users across services.Further reading: Bing, Microsoft, Office