I asked you guys if you are interested in a post about the new introduced Microsoft Search functions. This is the article for that 🙂

But first things first, there is a full video version available on YouTube. Check it out if you want to watch and listen, instead of “just” reading. This time only one video so you can relax and lay back while watching and listening to the article. You can of course also check out my other articles or my dedicated blog series pages if you haven’t already.

As all of my articles in the Mastering Office 365 series you find the content of this article with direct links below.

Preamble

To give a little context what you can expect in this article, it is a good idea to talk about Microsoft Search and figure out what it is and what we can expect in the future. Microsoft says this:

With Microsoft Search, we’re introducing new organizational search experiences into the apps you use every day, including Bing.com and Windows, and our vision to connect across your organization’s network of data.

Currently, I have the option to make use out of it with Bing.com. In the first half of 2019 we have Microsoft Search available in the Office Suite.

Microsoft Search in PowerPoint
Microsoft Search in PowerPoint

In 2019, Microsoft will build native connectors for popular third-party applications that will surface search results inline with Microsoft data into all the search experiences we have, including Office, Windows, Edge, and Bing.com. Administrators will be able to select which connectors they wish to use for their organizations based on which investments they’ve already made in third-party applications. Further extensibility with APIs will also be possible. Organizations will be able customize the search sources and the display of search results with custom refiners and verticals, and control the display of how sources of information look in result pages. – Microsoft

What is Microsoft Search?

So there are as always many different sources you can read all the details, like the article by Jeff Teper or the announcement by Naomi Moneypenny. Currently, we are able to integrate out Microsoft 365 / Office 365 in Bing.com which is for sure a nice thing, but to be honest, I don’t see that much usage of Bing yet. I think this “early access” is a way of promoting Bing as a stronger competitor to Google and I am fine with that. 🙂

Microsoft mentioned also this: For example, a question such as “Can my brother work for me at my company?” means that not only syntactic parsing of the question is necessary but semantic understanding. Your organization’s HR policy probably specifies “close family relationships,” so we use Bing’s knowledge of the world to expand and match “brother” and couple that with searching your organization’s intranet to derive the answer.

Well… I’m excited to see these things in the future, but until then I think Microsoft should focus on the fundamental integration of Office 365, Microsoft 365, Windows and Office. Anyway, let’s start with the basics.

Everything coming next is covered in my video version on YouTube. So you can decide which way you want to go and don’t think about the third option of leaving 🙂

How to activate Microsoft Search?

There are many different ways, I prefer the following: Log in as an Administrator to your Microsoft 365 admin center and turn on the preview if available. (You know this is coming, so get used to it as soon as possible).

Try the preview and be prepared when it's coming
Try the preview and be prepared when it’s coming

You see a huge difference which from my point of view is way better than the “old” one. It is cleaner but you are also able to change the cards on your welcome screen. Nice touch there and I am sure there are more cool things coming.

Microsoft 365 admin center preview
Microsoft 365 admin center preview

There are currently two cards available you can add to your Essentials segment. Just click on + Add card and via drag and drop move a card to your screen. Close the card panel and you’re done.

Add a card to your admin center home page
Add a card to your admin center home page

Next, you have to expand the left menu by clicking on  … Show more and from there go to Settings and Services & add-ins and then click on Microsoft Search.

Go to Microsoft Search
Go to Microsoft Search

The last part for activating is super easy. On, Save, Get started – Easy as pie.

Activate Microsoft Search and get started
Activate Microsoft Search and get started

Next, we are taking a look at the quick wizard and how to set things up in Bing.com.

Set up Microsoft Search in Bing.com

If you made it this far… Good job 🙂

After you clicked the mysterious Get started a new tab should have opened up and you see the quick setup. You also see that you left your admin portal and went to Bing for Business in the URL.

Microsoft Search Quick Setup
Microsoft Search Quick Setup

It is nothing super special and easy to understand. I only changed the logo and “nexted” through the wizard. This is the initial setup, but there is more to cover to give it a first try. Read on and check the Bookmarks and Q&A’s section next.

Bookmarks, Q&A’s and People

You made it now over 750 words, don’t give up 🙂 Here comes the cool part.

Go ahead and browse to Bing.com and search for something. You might see the banner as in the following picture.

Search with Bing.com
Search with Bing.com

Go ahead and log in with a user of your tenant, try to search something again and you see the first insights of your Microsoft 365 / Office 365 environment.

Bing search for rules
Bing search for rules

We see in the picture above, that we are logged in as Albus Dumbledore and he searched for “rules“. We see that we have our custom logo shown and also a bookmark. So how do you get that?

Bookmarks

If you finished your quick setup earlier you will then find yourself at the Microsoft Search Dashboard. You can explore that yourself, not much to say about that, but we can create from there our first bookmark.

Dashboard with direct access to create or import bookmarks
Dashboard with direct access to create or import bookmarks

After clicking + Create Bookmark you can obviously create your own bookmark.

Just fill out the necessary information and you can publish it. You need a title the URL and keywords. I think the bookmark description is also a good thing to fill out to help your users a little more, but you don’t need to.

Create your bookmark
Create your bookmark

There are more settings like date, country / region, groups, devices and OS, targeted variation and even Power App, but for the beginning this is the essential. Play around and get comfortable with it and don’t try to make everything perfect from the beginning. Give yourself some time to learn about this option.

Q & A’s

Next-up Q & A’s, which are really great. Just like the bookmarks you can create them from the dashboard or you go to the left menu and and click on Q&As.

Create your first Q&A
Create your first Q&A

Just like the bookmark again, fill out the needed information and publish it. There are also additional settings again, but for the first start don’t make it harder as needed.

Now search for something again with some keywords your set in your Q&A. Even if you have multiple typo’s, it can help you. That’s what a lot of people appreciate! 🙂

Q&A is working even with bad typo's
Q&A is working even with bad typo’s

With bookmarks and Q&As you can really help your users to find the things they are looking for. No more questions: Where is the expense sheet from HR? Do you know where I find this and that?

People

If you are using SharePoint, the employee directory is probably one of your most visited sites, right? Well, now you can search for people just easily in Bing.com. Type in a name and you get a bunch of information and you also see upcoming events which is great. You can also get in touch with the person from there if you need to, for example if you have to talk about the agenda of the meeting with Harry. 🙂

Search for people from you company
Search for people from you company

Depending on how much information you have, the better it looks of course. You have also insights into his or her files and groups and could also see the team members, location etc. if you filled that out in the employees properties.

Summary and Roadmap

Microsoft Search is a great start to make the unified search experience better. We asked for it for a long time, but to be fair it is not that easy to fulfill our wishes, right? This first insight gives me hope that it finally comes to a good end. The Bing.com experience is promising and the Windows search integration could become even better.

Let’s keep our fingers crossed and hope that we will see more in early 2019. I think one of the biggest milestones is the upcoming integration in Windows Search. This might become a real game-changer and help people in so many different ways to find and collaborate on documents.

Microsoft Search in Windows
Microsoft Search in Windows

Thank you for sticking around until the end, you earned your last GIF 🙂

Don't be afraIT
Don’t be afraIT

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