Bill Bär /bɛːr/

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Bill Bär /bɛːr/
Bill Bär is a Senior Product Manager and Microsoft Certified Master for Microsoft Search, Assistant, and Intelligence at Microsoft in Redmond, Washington.

Bill Bär /bɛːr/


Going Static

You’ve probably noticed some changes around here over the last couple of days. After 15 years of maintaining my blog and 20 of maintaining this domain I’ve decided to consolidate the two - my “splash” page at and blog at For the last 15 years I’ve maintained my “technical” blog on TechNet or more recently (with the sunsetting of TechNet blogs a while ago) on at the time was more or less the proverbial “path of least resistance" since TechNet had transitioned from Telligent to WordPress several years ago - making the migration options an easy decision.
As we continue to ease into working remotely, search has evolved beyond its traditional perception of providing simple utilitarian value, to now serving as a proxy to person-person interactions, quick hallway conversations, and unstructured meetings – effectively search has become the “digital water cooler” for many businesses. The ability to find information in context has become increasingly important, not only because we’re more distributed, but so is information; however, you need to be able to not only discover information in context but have the assurance that the results are the most relevant to you and your task.
NEW FEATURE: Bookmark Recommendations (FEATURE ID: 68864) Bookmark Answers in Microsoft Search provide the flexibility for you to curate and promote curated resources on top of ranked results to help guide users to authoritative resources. Bookmark Answers are designed to help employee’s way find the organization and quickly identify the best and most relevant resource curated by you or your organization such as authoritative sites or documents to satisfy the searchers’ intent.

Microsoft Search 101

What is Microsoft Search? Microsoft Search is the evolution of search at Microsoft. Microsoft Search transforms the way people in an organization find the information they need—no matter where they are in their cloud journey. Either integrated with Microsoft 365 or as a standalone solution, Microsoft Search is a secure, easily managed, enterprise search experience that works across Microsoft 365 applications and services to deliver more relevant search results and increase productivity.
What’s a promoted result? In brief, Promoted Results are a component of query results that allow you to promote a search result to appear above ranked results. For example, for the query “sick leave”, a query rule could specify a particular result, such as a link to a site that has a statement of company policy regarding time off work or otherwise, the promoted result link. What’s a Bookmark? Bookmarks are one of many Answers in Microsoft Search.

Hindsight is 360

Hindsight is 2020, or for me, 360. I’m humbled to be writing this post, having joined Microsoft a few short weeks before the XBOX 360 was released, just shy of 15 years ago. As a humble kid from Germany who joined Microsoft by way of Colorado - it has been an amazing journey. That journey has been amazing, challenging, and rewarding. I had a dream of becoming of a veterinarian…and in the early 1990’s that is what I had majored in - and by a strange turn of events, I ended up realizing my true passion while accidentally working at Apple (to make ends meet) in the early to mid-1990’s working as a storage engineer on the Apple Power Macintosh 7 series.
What are Answers in Microsoft Search? An Answer is a highly relevant and high confidence result that satisfies a user intent expressed as a query/question in search, presenting the most relevant information needed to get a job done and help users to faster task completion. An Answer is a way to address user intent. When searching, the user typically types in characters and keywords to express an intent. Recognizing the keywords that are triggers for specific intents is important, but it is even more important that the content that is shown in search satisfies the user intent.
If you’ve been following the various news and announcements from Microsoft on Microsoft Search at events like Build and Microsoft Ignite, you’ve probably come across a demo or two on Machine Reading Comprehension (MRC). For example, a search for “Can I bring my dog to work?” in Microsoft Search in Bing. Let’s explore what MRC is… In brief, MRC is the ability to read and understand unstructured text and then answer questions about it or effectively algorithms that can learn to answer questions about new documents with limited amounts of training data, incorporate common sense, and leverage external knowledge about the world.
Time is our most valuable resource and with the rapid pace of work and ever expanding amount of information we need to process, it’s often hard to find time to manage our work. AI and Cortana in Microsoft 365 puts you at the center so you can do your best work with intelligent, natural, and personalized productivity experiences. Here are four tips to being more productive in 2020 with AI in Microsoft 365.
Stay tuned here on May 21st, 2019 at 12:00 P.M. PDT to watch the SharePoint Virtual Summit captured live from the SharePoint Conference in Las Vegas. Catch up on the Jeff Teper keynote to see all the SharePoint and Microsoft 365 news in action to help you stay productive and focused on what matters to you. Microsoft 365 empowers individuals, teams and organizations to be creative, collaborative, and effective with an integrated suite of experiences that are simple, superior, smart and secure.
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