Paradigm Shift in Modern SharePoint Search – Innovations Powered by Microsoft Graph in Microsoft 365, Office 365, and SharePoint Online

Microsoft unveiled some of the biggest Microsoft Search innovations at Ignite 2017 vision keynote, powered by Microsoft Graph in addition to Bing for Business and LinkedIn for Business integration. While watching Vision keynote, the impact of new Search innovations didn’t sink in until I was following tweets from the session Accelerate productivity with search and discovery in SharePoint and Office 365. I was at the Office 365 developer overview session at the same time and amount of tweets sent from search session was so overwhelming that I had no choice but prioritize this session after the Ignite.

If you are a long-time SharePointer, Microsoft Search has come a long way from the SharePoint 2007 days. From the basic SharePoint search based indexing engine, Microsoft has reimagined search many times after acquiring FAST in 2012 (just days before SharePoint 2010 release, with complex connectors and relevancy engine) and Project Oslo (now Microsoft Delve, powered by Microsoft Graph signals for the personalized and contextual results, announced at SPC14).

If you are searching SharePoint Online search results in Fall 2017, all the users in your organizations will receive similar results based on content popularity and content relevancy. This search is based on the search index populated by crawlers crawling SharePoint content in your Office 365 tenant. At Ignite 2017, Microsoft unveiled their vision of new SharePoint search center powered by Microsoft Graph. Rather than searching against SharePoint index, a new search will return data based on users personalized interests, connections, and content. The new search engine will be powered by Microsoft Graph.

Earlier this summer, Microsoft has unveiled their new vision of digital workplace ‘Microsoft 365″ at the Microsoft Inspire 2017 conference, marketed as a complete, intelligent solution to empower employees to be creative and work together securely, using combined Office 365, Windows 10, and Enterprise Mobility and Security licensing packages. One of the major selling points of the modern digital workplace is – increase the productivity and content switching to speed up the innovation and collaborate faster ultimately to achieve better customer service or increase profitability.

At Microsoft Ignite 2017, Microsoft has announced that new Microsoft Graph powered search is not limited to only SharePoint search center. It is getting expanded to SharePoint Online home, home (Office 365 home), Bing, and Windows tasks bar, a full spectrum of digital workplace offering as Microsoft 365.

Search powerd by MS Graph

Rather than you as a user access the tools to search, the search will be available to you wherever you are to be productive. Microsoft’s vision is taking the search where users are, rather than only available through few products like SharePoint. If you just stop for a second and think, this is a huge paradigm shift in how SharePoint Search and Microsoft Search works. Not only Office 365 graph changes search result from popularity to more contextual and personalized but also opens up new ground for innovation. Search powered by Office 365 graph will allow better integration with LinkedIn Graph and Dynamics 365 Graph opening up the new search experiences.

MS Graphs.PNG

Microsoft Graph Powered Search – Boundaryless, Personalized, Contextual

Here are my few notes while watching Microsoft Ignite search session:

Search powerd by MS Graph 2

  • Core Pillars of intelligent search – Boundaryless, Personalized, Contextual
  • Personalized
    • Evolution of Search –
      • Current search is based on popular content (similar to commercial searches like Bing or Google)
      • Evolving search for matching content and popularity to match people & behavior and entities. The search will use Microsoft Graph as a data tier.
    • NEW – Personalized Search in SharePoint home
      • Will be available late 2017
      • New Search page layout & experience let you explore without losing context
      • Shows multiple categorized data – files, people, sites, news, all on the same page.
      • Preview inline files, supports more than 275 files types, support built by OneDrive team
      • Folder view – You can differentiate results with a similar file name with folder path in a browser and all the results are organized by path.
      • Search results are scope into folder and browser into folder directly from the search experience.
    • NEW – Visual Content Intelligence
      • Ability to extract text and objects from images and create metadata for the search.
      • It’s already available as of Dec 2017 on the Office 365 tenants
  • Contextual
    • It’s optimized for wherever you are – windows, Cortana,, SharePoint, delve, office apps, OneDrive, Bing etc.
    • NEW – New Office home powered by search
      • New contextual homepage
      • Shows apps, docs, sites relevant to you.
  • Boundaryless
    • NEW – Enterprise Search in Windows from taskbar
      • Ability to search local files, Office 365 (docs, people), and organization files
    • NEW – Multi-Geo Search preview in Office 365
      • Preview coming soon in late 2017
      • Unified search index across multi-geo regions of O365
      • First available in SharePoint, OneDrive, and Enterprise Search Center
      • Will be available to other apps – Windows,, Bing, Office Apps etc.

Reimagined SharePoint Search Center

New SharePoint Search center powered by Microsoft Graph has been reimagined with the new result types.

New SP Search


Bing for Business Private Preview

In addition to this, Microsoft has announced Bing for Business as a private preview. The idea here is to get the web and work results in a unified, simple, and secure way. I am sure just like any other technology, large organizations will worry about exposing private organization data by mixing with a public search engine, it’s a matter of time this product will be adopted by all sizes of the organizations. Bing for business results will be powered by Microsoft Graph and internet in one place. I am really excited to have a probability of having the power of Office 365 Graph, LinkedIn Graph, and Microsoft 365 Graph returning organization content, LinkedIn professional connections, and internet results as the unified view.

MS Graph and Bing

Bing for Business Results

Multi-Geo Search

With the new innovation in Office 365, the single tenant can be enabled to span multiple geographic regions. With Multi-Geo enabled tenants, the need for the Multi-Geo search is understandable. Both SharePoint Online sites and OneDrive for Business will be enabled for Multi-Geo tenants, making them an ideal candidate for the Multi-Geo search support. At the time of Ignite 2017, both OneDrive for Business was under preview and SharePoint Online was under development. The new Multi-Geo search will be powered by Microsoft Graph returning geographically dispersed Office 365 tenant data in the single query on the SharePoint Online search center.

Multi-Geo Search

New SP Search - Multi-Geo Search

Search Roadmap – Past, Present, and Future

As Microsoft was announcing their vision of future of Search, they just didn’t stop at what they are doing right now. Future of Office 365 and SharePoint search is even more powerful and few steps ahead than what organizations are looking for. If past search results were based on content matching and popularity, the current focus is on personalized and behavior based search, future is driving actionable results based on search data powered by AI and machine learning.

Search Tech roadmap

I am really excited about the direction where Microsoft Search is headed. How about you?



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