Microsoft is augmenting, upgrading, and ultimately evolving its search tools in Office, Windows, and on Bing, to something a little more unified. Like Windows itself, which has seen unification across multiple platforms, Microsoft is now maneuvering its search tools into a similar digital form factor. Microsoft Search, as it will be known, will be the main search tool for Microsoft Office, Windows itself, and the online Bing search platform.
In converting its search tool into something more widely applicable to different software and web platforms, Microsoft will also be making it smarter contextually. Searching in Bing or within Windows after the update will see a combination of web and local results display, each of which takes into consideration the user, the device they’re on, and any applications they’re running. Results may contain Windows commands, or quick links to certain application features, as well as personalized web search results.
“We think we have great technology that is under utilized,” said Microsoft’s corporate vice president of Office, Jeff Teper, in a chat with The Verge. “We want to hear from people that they’ll be more productive.”
For organizations working on a plural number of Office documents, users will be able to find elements of all of them within Office’s various platforms, helping them to navigate to the right document. For those wondering how to perform certain tasks, searching should give users quicker access to those commands without having to dig through menus to find them.
According to Verge, the most accurate representation of the new search function operating today is Microsoft Teams. The organizational Slack competitor has been around since 2016 and has its own command/search bar at the top which provides the same sort of functionality Microsoft is talking about rolling out to so many of its other platforms and services.
Microsoft has pledged to begin rolling out the new search tool to Bing and Office users immediately, with Windows itself receiving the updated search functions at some point in 2019. Microsoft applications will also receive built-in navigation and search functions in the new year, with all platforms seeing a rollout of third-party application commands support within the search tool around the same time.
In the meantime, want to know how to make the most of Windows search? Check out our guide.
Updated on September 9, 2018: Updated text and title to clarify that Bing will not be replaced.
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