Microsoft testing new intranet search, Bing for Business

Toby Ward's picture

Microsoft has begun testing a new intranet search, Bing for Business, in a greater effort to compete with Google. MS hopes this corporate Bing will also promote more use of, a tall order given their competitor is referenced as a verb in day-to-day vernacular (“I Googled that.”).

One wonders what’s wrong with SharePoint search, the multi-billion dollar acquisition that was once called FAST search…

The new initiative was uncovered earlier by

Earlier today, Bing for Business was spotted by Walking Cat and while he didn’t say what this service is, I was able to dig in a bit and uncover how Microsoft will be using this new tool. Bing for Business is currently in a private beta and allows a company to inject their own search results into Bing for searches performed on company-owned devices.

Of course, this is one area that Google has failed to own. Ironically, this is a market that is increasingly dominated by SharePoint, and SharePoint search, particularly with the cloud equivalent in Office 365.

Search is a major priority and ingredient in the new digital workplace, and is subject of not one but two case study presentations at next month’s 2017 Digital Workplace and Intranet Global Forum conference in New York City, October 25 and 26. Intranet search is a pain-in-the-you-know-what and almost always the top complaint of the average intranet user

One of this year’s presenters, Karen Downs, of H&R Block, says that really, while search results are a problem, it’s rarely the technology or engine’s fault.

“Not one of our search problems relate to the technology,” says Downs, the Intranet Program Manager at H&R Block. In fact, while she owns the entire intranet experience, search has been perhaps her biggest area of focus and source of improvement.

“We needed more information in order to improve search, so we added the search feedback link to the bottom of the page to begin tracking specific examples for what people could not find,” says Downs, who adds the Feedback link was the single-most important change H&R Block made to intranet search. “We learned that there were four reasons why people couldn’t find stuff…

  • Content does not exist (rare)
  • Content exists but in a different repository (frequent)
  • exists within the scope of content that the search engine can reach, but the language used in the content is different than the language used by staff (frequent)
  • Appropriate search result within the first three results, but the user didn’t click on it (frequent)

H&R Block and Merck will present in-depth case studies on improving intranet search, and be joined by many other prominent companies, including Coca-Cola, Google, Pfizer and others, at the 2017 Digital Workplace and Intranet Global Forum conference.

A sneak preview of some of the world’s best intranets and digital workplaces can be seen in the upcoming webinar, The Master Ingredients of a Great Intranet (in the New Digital Workplace) on September 20, 2017.

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