Microsoft seems to be rethinking how it handles search in the brave, new Microsoft 365 world
Sometime recently, Microsoft quietly removed its Delve application for Windows 10 from the Microsoft Store.
I don’t mean the Delve for Windows 10 Mobile (which wouldn’t be news, given Microsoft’s move away from its mobile OS). I’m talking about the version for Windows 10 on PCs — which is surprising, given Delve was one of Microsoft’s most celebrated Windows 10 applications.
Delve, which Microsoft officials described back in 2014 as a “Flipboard for Office 365,” was meant to be a new kind of search and presentation application. It was built using the Office Graph (now known as the Microsoft Graph).
I’m not sure exactly when Microsoft removed the Office Delve app for Windows 10 from the Store, but @GlynPress alerted me to this a week ago.
A note on the Delve support page says:
“The Office Delve for Windows 10 app is no longer supported and has been removed from the Windows Store. We recommend that you use the Web version of Delve instead….
“If you already have the Office Delve for Windows 10 app installed on your device, you can still use it, but the app may stop working in the future.”
I asked Microsoft when and why the company decided to drop Delve. I got no response on the “when.” But the rest of the answer, sent to me by a spokesperson, was not what I expected; it was more interesting:
“Delve is one of many personalized search and discovery experiences powered by the Microsoft Graph, and has provided a model for how search results surface across Office and Windows. Our vision for workplace search is that it is accessible from wherever you are working, personalized and relevant to you, and that it surfaces results from across Microsoft 365.
“As we announced at Ignite, we continue to enhance the search and discovery experiences across Microsoft 365. As part of this, we’re focusing our efforts on the Windows taskbar search experience which includes content and people inside your organization, as well as content on your local device, and on the rich web search experience including Delve and other search bars within Office 365.”
Aha. So this is more about a consolidation and rethinking of search inside Windows and Office 365 than anything else.
At Ignite, company officials explained that instead of expecting users to go to a particular site to search for information pertinent to their business requests, Microsoft is trying to bring search to where the users are. Whether inside SharePoint, Bing (via Bing for Business) or Windows 10, Microsoft is looking to make search more consistently and intuitively, officials said.
On the Windows front, it looks like Microsoft is exploring new ways to make search more front-and center in Windows 10. A new, immersive search experience, similar to Apple’s macOS Spotlight, will likely be testable soon by Windows Insiders. Users will be able to search for files, pictures, settings, apps and more via a search box that will be independent from the current Cortana search box in Windows 10.
I’m curious what Microsoft’s new consolidated Microsoft 365 search experience will mean to Cortana’s future evolution. So far, we don’t have clues on that.