Tag Archives: Microsoft Search

Microsoft 365 Search: roadmap and announcements

updated: Nov 14, 2021

(Old/Classic) SharePoint Search: content-centric (SharePoint Search Center)
(New/Modern) Microsoft Search: people-centric (Teams, Office, OneDrive, Delve etc.)

Office graph = codename for collective set of services and insights we generate on top of the infrastructure that fast office graph group developed 
= social Intel concepts (SharePoint home, Delve, OneDrive Discoverview) are derivatives of Office graph 

Microsoft Graph = API ( including universal search API)
The Graph Search API went General Availability (GA):
– Microsoft Search API in Microsoft Graph
Use the Microsoft Search API to query data
Microsoft Search API Code samples, Tutorials at github

Microsoft Search API provides one unified search endpoint that you can use to query data in the Microsoft cloud – messages and events in Outlook mailboxes, and files on OneDrive and SharePoint – that Microsoft Search already indexes.

Turing technology – understands you, answers your question e.g. hover over doc -> doc summary (based on “deep speed” AI model)
announcement at Ignite Spring, more on Ignite Fall 2021

Modern Search: MS nailed the fundamentals, now start bringing it everywhere  – to Teams first, then SharePoint (said Nov 2020).

Modern Search Customizations  – we’ll take the best from Classic SharePoint Search,
a lot will retire – investing in more flexibility  

PnP modern Search
– custom result pages, webparts, branding theme; filters, refiners, scoping control  ) 
pnp modern search – webparts (video)
https://microsoft-search.github.io/pnp-modern-search

Core idea behind Microsoft search is coherence 

Bill Baer:
People use search in a different ways 
1) you have organisations who have a well-established intranet built around set of governance controls, a very clean architecture and they want to build a search into that intranet scenario; that’s why a lot of SharePoint capabilities are going to come along with Microsoft search for that particular endpoint
2) then you have other people who live their day in teams

Updates

Shared search engine results page (developed once – transitioned everywhere)
Ctrl-F to search through teams (chats?) (contextual search)
Natural language search (starting from Outlook)
Image search (before eoy), + 
teams chats, outlook groups conversations, yammer conversation -> bing, office.com, sharepoint

Bookmarks (new promoted results), acronyms, Q&A – all under “Answers”

Bookmarks Targeting – for the specific audience based on device/OS, Country/Region, security groups…

SharePoint Search Admin Center -> will be migrated from SharePoint admin center to to Microsoft Search Admin Center transitioning (Search and Intelligence Admin Center) – long-running project custom dictionaries, spelling suggestions – will retire, (move to a graph-driven speller) 

+ Viva Topics – based search capabilities

  • Create Topic Answers with Microsoft Viva Topics to bring together people, content, and information (including synonyms and acronyms)
  • Knowledge answers provide a direct answer to questions authoritative information in an organization across SharePoint and OneDrive content
  • Files/Calendars/Links answers

Graph Connectors
Graph Connectors are generally available (ADLS – Azure Data Lake Storage Gen2, Azure DevOps, Azure SQL and Microsoft SQL Server, Enterprise websites, MediaWiki, File share, Oracle SQL, Salesforce, Jira, Confluence, ServiceNow + 100+ from partners; New connectors coming to Microsoft Search: Jira Graph connector, Confluence Graph connector).

Graph Connector allows to connect external source of information to Microsoft 365 and makes that data available across all m365 apps and services so you can find what you need wherever you’re working, whether in one of your favorite productivity apps or one of the many Microsoft 365 services such as SharePoint or Office.com

Graph Connectors roadmap:

Actionable experiences
Search results on select Graph connectors will soon support actions that will allow users to interact with the result and perform changes to the Connector content within the Search application.

Results clusters
The results shown in a result cluster are grouped together based on the search vertical configuration.

Profile Query variables
Define any attribute from the user’s Profile, as a query variable and it would be resolved during query evaluation (This feature is currently in preview)

Profile enrichment with Graph connectors
…you will soon be able to enrich Microsoft 365 profile properties like Job title, Phone numbers, Skills etc. with data from HRMS systems using graph connectors. …then surface this rich profile information on people experiences like profile cards.

Search Federation
federation capabilities will allow enterprises build and integrate their custom LOB search experiences, customized search providers, into the overall Microsoft Search. With federated search, you can make information from systems where the data cannot leave the systems boundaries available to search across in Microsoft 365 productivity apps and services, without indexing its data with Microsoft Search.

Azure Cognitive Search Federation

PowerBI search vertical

Custom verticals and custom refiners

Custom result templates – search layout designer – wysiwyg editor
Manage search result layouts
Microsoft Search Layout Designer

Standalone Search  – AAD identity – Graph connector – Ingest your data – use Search = in Windows 10, Office.com  ( e.g. for those who have their data in other productivity suite, have no intent to use m365, but want to search)

More info:

References

Bill Baer “Making the most of Microsoft Search” @ MS Ingnite fall 2021

Current state of SharePoint Search and Microsoft Search scopes

https://techcommunity.microsoft.com/t5/microsoft-search-blog/microsoft-search-at-ignite-2020/ba-p/1651098

https://techcommunity.microsoft.com/t5/microsoft-search-blog/what-s-new-for-microsoft-search-ignite-2020-edition/ba-p/1675291

Bill Baer: What’s new and what’s next for Microsoft Search (May 25, 2021)

Bill Baer on Search:

Microsoft 365 Search Roadmap

Find sites shared with Everyone in SPO

There is a know problem in SharePoint – it’s complicated permissions system. As a result, many sites are overshared (over-exposed) and site owners/administrators even do not know – who has access to their sites…

The most concern is sites shared with “Everyone”, “Everyone except external users” and “All users”. How do we find sites shared with “Everyone” in a large Microsoft 365 tenant?

Approach #1 (Brute force)

We can get full permissions report at tenant level (or permissions provided to “Everyone”). There are 3-rd party tools (e.g. ShareGate, SysKit, AvePoint, Metalogix etc.), or you can run PowerShell script…

Sounds easy? Well, if you have 1000 sites – probably it will work. But if your environment 10K+ sites – it will take forever. Permission report might run hours for an average site with site/subsite, list/library and list item details level. So the approach will not work for large enterprise environments.

We cannot limit report with root web only – we need report detailed up to every item level deep, as even one file with sensitive info shared with everyone can cause security issue.

So, if this approach is not working – what’s working?

Approach #2 (Search)

Clever idea: why do we need to iterate through all the tenant documents/items if all the content is already crawled by search? Can we just use search to get files shared with Everyone? Sure!

The idea is to use some dumb/test user account with no specific permissions provided and no group membership and try to search content on behalf of the user. Results we get are obviously from sites shared with everyone.

Check this and this articles. Can we get results programmatically (e.g. with PowerShell)? Can we use Microsoft Graph search API? Sure.
Check this article “How to search against SharePoint Online Content with Microsoft Graph search API with PowerShell”.

But! We have two problems here.

Search Problem #1. The problem is the same as in “brute force”. Search returns so many results – it’ll take weeks to get all of them. (There are team sites “legally” shared with everyone, public Office 365 group based sites, communication sites… ).

Search Problem #2. Even if we get all search results – we do not know – what is the exact Url of the resource shared with all users. So we will need to build list of sites based on the search results – ant then still need to run permissions report against these sites.

Approach # 3 Hybrid

The idea: why do we need to get all search result if even one result from a site would be enough to add the site to the list of sites require permission review.

So, consider (imho, the best) approach.

  1. You get list of sites in tenant. Here you can refine the list excluding, e.g. sites connected to public teams or known communication sites… Using sensitivity labels you can start with high-sensitive sites.
    Finally you’ll have a list of sites you want to check – if there are resources on this site shared with “Everyone…”
  2. You run search against each site in the loop (e.g. consider KQL option “Site: https://yourTenant.SharePoint.com/sites/YourSite”.
    Once at least something found in the site – add the site to the “Open Sites” list

With this approach you will get list of sites shared with “Everyone…” in a couple of minutes.

NB: consider there are resources like “Styles Library” shared with everyone by default.

The Next step would be “How to let site owners know what are resources shared with Everyone… on their sites”.

References

Microsoft Search: country-targeted bookmarks

If you have country-specific content – Microsoft Search allows bookmarks to be configured to pop-up only for users from a specific country.

But it does not work (or works only for US). What is problem? How do we troubleshoot it? How can we simulate user to be located in a specific country?

How does Microsoft define “this user is from that country”. What are the criteria to correlate User <-> Country? Physical IP address? License assigned country? Locale? Browser settings? Azure AD properties?

Any ideas/experience will be appreciated.
Please let me know.

Resources:

Office 365 Search scopes

Search is everywhere in Microsoft 365. You can search from SharePoint, Teams, Delve, Yammer etc.

But! You cannot search for anything from everywhere!

  • Search for your Teams chat messages works only in Teams.
  • But from Teams you cannot search for regular (non-group) sites and public teams sites
  • All descriptions are totally out of search (e.g. site description, library/list description – including Yammer groups, Teams and regular sites).
  • Public Team Sites content is not searchable from Teams and Yammer

So, what are the scopes of each search entry point in Office 365 and is there an entry point you can search for everything?

Search scopesSharePoint
Search center
SharePoint home
Office portal
Office desktop app
Delve
TeamsBing
SharePoint contentYesYesYes
Teams contentYesYesYesYes
Teams chats(*1)YesYes
Yammer contentYesYesYes
Yammer chat(*1)Yes
User profilesYesYes
Email
(*1) Microsoft announced they are working on bringing conversations (both Teams chats and Yammer) to SharePoint landing page first, then to Office home page.

Detailed:

ScopeOut of Scope
SharePoint Search Center– all sites content
(Teams, Yammer, regular),
– user profiles
– OneDrive
Teams chat
Yammer chat
SharePoint Landing Pagesame as SharePoint Search center
but Teams chats and Yammer Conversations are coming
same as SharePoint Search Center
Office.comsame as SharePoint
(Teams chats and Yammer Conversations are coming after SharePoint)
same as SharePoint
Delve
TeamsTeams content
Teams chat
OneDrive
Yammer
User Profiles
regular SharePoint sites
BingEverything* * except people profiles content
(e.g. about me)

Seems like the only tool you can search for EVERYTHING with is Microsoft Bing:

After Microsoft add Teams chats and Yammer conversations to SharePoint landing page search scope (then to Office home page) – it’ll be the best place to search from for everything.

More on Microsoft Search vs SharePoint Search and Microsoft Search RoadMap

Microsoft Office 365 Search: Find what you need with Microsoft Search in Bing

It is possible customize Modern Microsoft Search pages with PnP Modern Search