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Microsoft had a slew of announcements lined up for today’s keynote at its Build 2019 developer conference, and many of them concerned its enterprise software and services. Company executives detailed enhancements coming down the pipeline to Microsoft Search, Microsoft’s cross-domain search solution, and the Microsoft Graph, a unified programmability model and APIs that provide access to data within Office 365, Dynamics 365, Enterprise Mobility and Security, Windows 10, Azure Active Directory, and more.
Microsoft Search, which launched at Microsoft’s Ignite conference in September 2018, is akin to Google’s Cloud Search in that it sifts through disparate data buckets to find files, contacts, org charts, internal sites, conversations, locations, tools, and answers to common questions. Searches can be performed from within most Microsoft 365 products or from Bing, and built-in permission management tools ensure users don’t stumble upon content they’re not authorized to edit or view.
As previously announced, the Microsoft Search bar within SharePoint, OneDrive, Office, Bing, and Windows will soon migrate to a new, more prominent position across desktop, mobile, and the web. Additionally, Microsoft Search will begin incorporating more personalized results such as commonly contacted colleagues and recently accessed documents, along with results across organizations and admin-curated items like bookmarks.
That’s not the only new feature. Microsoft Search can extract paragraphs from documents explicitly related to questions, and it now lets people within companies conduct people searches with incomplete information. (For example, “Pat, floor 3” or “John, suite D.”)
Also forthcoming is zero-query typing, which will surface results the minute the Search box is clicked, and a key-phrase suggestion feature that’ll let users nearly instantly command the app they’re using. (For example, beginning to type “acc” in the search box within Word will pull up a list of suggested actions like “Accept Revision” and “Accessibility Checker.”) Meanwhile, personal query histories will become broadly available to Microsoft Search users, and administrators will get access to a list of popular searches for their organizations.
Microsoft Search began rolling out earlier this year and will come to all Microsoft Office 365 and Office 365 commercial customers by the end of May. Third-party app and services connectors will enter preview later this year.
Not to be outdone, the Microsoft Graph today gained data connect, a service that combines analytics data from the Microsoft Graph with customers’ business data.
Microsoft Graph data connect’s migration pipelines are deployed and managed through Azure Data Factory, Microsoft’s cloud data integration and orchestration service, and can be used to create new apps shared within enterprises or externally in the Microsoft Azure Marketplace. To ensure a measure of security, developers can specify a set of policies with which they intend to comply and to which administrators must consent, and apps created with Microsoft Graph data connect use only information that’s “essential” to their function.
Microsoft Graph data connect is available through Microsoft’s Workplace Analytics platform and as a standalone SKU for independent software vendors (ISVs).