Bill Baer /bɛːr/

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

Bill Baer /bɛːr/


As Authoratative Pages are scheduled to be deprecated in SharePoint Online, now is the time to start thinking about how to deliver similar functionality with Microsoft Search. For background, authoritative pages are those that link to the most relevant information as decided by the search administrator, specified as a URL. SharePoint search uses this list to calculate the rank of every page in the index. For example, if an administrator wanted to rank the companies HR site above ranked results, an authoratative page could be configured for https://contoso.
Over the past month or so I’ve been working more and more with Hugo as I rebuild and consolidate my old dynamic sites see At the onset I had initially elected Nova App as my preferred editor of choice, but most recently have started using Visual Studio Code. With Nova I had a shell script I would run in Terminal (macOS) when developing my site, but now that I’m using Visual Studio Code I decided to use tasks.
Last month we shared changes we’re making to Microsoft Search in SharePoint Online as we continue our journey of bringing Microsoft Search to your favorite Microsoft 365 productivity apps and services. As a result of this announcement, we’ve seen questions as to whether FQL (FAST Query Language) is being deprecated as a result of these changes. The simple answer is no, FAST Query Language is not being deprecated; however, there are some features of FAST Query Language that are being deprecated:
This is more or less a continuation of my previous article on moving to Hugo from Wordpress. When it comes to search and static site generators such as Hugo, there are a seemingly unlimited number of options available to you - one of most popular I researched was Lunr, and while I temporarily opted to leverage Algolia to support search on this site, I ultimately decided upon Lunr. That said, while Lunr supports my needs right now, I’m hoping someone will find some benefit out of how to use Algolia with Hugo (easily).

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.
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