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Microsoft is shaking up the search boxes found in Bing, Office, Windows, Teams, and everywhere else it shows up in productivity apps. Under the common banner “Microsoft Search” the plan is to provide a consistent, unified view of search results that encompasses not just your own documents and emails but also your organization’s content and conversations.
With the change, the search bar will become more prominent, with consistent behavior wherever it appears. This will include new features such as automatic suggestions—merely clicking the search box will present personalized results, such as documents you’ve edited recently or contacts you email regularly—and the ability to search for commands within the application. This means that instead of hunting through ribbons and dialog boxes, you’ll be able to search for an application function and activate it from the search results.
The new search will subsume Windows search and show local files among its results. Greater value will be experienced by organizations using Microsoft 365. When signed into an Office 365 account, search results will include documents in SharePoint or OneDrive, conversations in Teams or Yammer, and contacts from the company directory, even when performing a search from Bing. Eventually, Microsoft plans to offer third-party data sources, too.
The new search experience is available in the Office Web apps and Bing today (as an opt-in preview) for corporate users. It’s also available in the SharePoint and Outlook mobile apps. In the first half of next year, it will be extended to the Office desktop apps and Windows 10.