There are many new improvements to Search within SharePoint 2010 including the new FAST Search application which further extends the out-of-box SharePoint search capability.  One exciting new FAST feature is “Visual Best Bets” within your search results.  Visual best bets show you a thumbnail image of each document found in the search results.  For certain file types such as PowerPoint, it even goes as far as allowing you to scroll through a PowerPoint presentation all while staying within your search results page.  Very impressive!

SharePoint 2010 Search Visual Best Bets

A few other new functionalities that you will see in SharePoint Search 2010 include: 

  • Metadata, taxonomy, and social tags based results refinement
  • New pre-query (as you type) and post-query related suggestions
  • Improved "Did you mean" suggestions
  • “View in browser” link (opens document in Office Web Application via web browser)
  • Nickname match
  • Phonetic match

With all these new search functionalities, my favorite perhaps is the new social functionality of search.  SharePoint 2010 is really focused around a people centric workplace and extends that functionality to search.  You can easily connect to people and expertise right from your search results.  Using refinements, you can then drill down further to find colleagues with a specific skill or responsibility that you were looking for to provide you information or help you solve your issue.  You might even find a new friend!

Also, what’s really interesting is that over time, search results will favor those items that have been tagged by users or rated favorably using the new Ratings feature (five star scale) of SharePoint 2010.

I’ll conclude this blog post by showing you a very cool feature I learned about today called a “Vanity” search.  This is simply a search you do on yourself as long as you have the Profile Services Application (runs My Sites) up and running in your environment.  In return, you can see some very interesting results such as how other people are finding you in their searches and what keywords they used to locate you.   Based on this information, you can then go back and update your profile to make yourself more “popular”!

SharePoint 2010 People Search