If you’d forgotten about the plans to implement Microsoft Search in Windows 10, I wouldn’t blame you. Microsoft first started talking up the unification in 2018, with plans to integrate with its OS early last year. It’s now well past that date, and we hadn’t heard a peep from the company since.
To refresh your memory, Microsoft Search is an effort to unify search across Windows 10, Bing, and Office 365, while making it easier to find people, related content and app commands before you even start typing.
A preview for Office.com, Bing, and SharePoint Mobile rolled out in Fall 2018 and at that time Microsoft said the Windows, Edge and Desktop functionality would arrive in the coming months. Clearly, it has a different definition of that term to most people, but ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley has at least managed to coax out an update.
Shortly after being contacted by the journalist, the company updated its roadmap. The new plan is for a Microsoft Search for Windows 10 release in Q4 2020, almost two years after initially planned.
The search will be able to make suggestions based on enterprise customers’ Office 365 activity and various other factors. It will be able to personalize results based on someone’s individual usage while maintaining permissions.
However, the plans go further than that. The idea with integration across the Microsoft 365 suite is to let you access relevant content no matter the app you’re in. If you’re in Excel but need to reference something on SharePoint or PowerPoint, you can search for the document without leaving the application, and it may even be recommended automatically.
Essentially, this could provide a large boon to productivity, but there has been some resistance. In January 2020, Microsoft forced its Microsoft Search in Bing extension on ProPlus users. This caused a switch of the browser’s default search engine from Google, which left many furious. The goal back then was to let them access relevant information from their browser, but it will now roll out as an optional deployment. It seems the unification will arrive eventually, just with more delays and customer choice than initially expected.