The vision for Microsoft Search is straightforward and can be summarized in these bullet points:
Great results every time. There isn't much sense in building a search engine that will give substandard result sets. Think about it. When you enter a query term in other Internet-based search engines, you'll often receive a result set that gives you 100,000 or more links to resources that match your search term. Often, only the first 10 to 15 results hold any value at all, rendering the vast majority of the result set useless. Microsoft's aim is to give you a lean, relevant result set every time you enter a query.
Search integrated across familiar applications. Microsoft is integrating new or improved features into well-known interfaces. Improved search functionality is no exception. As the SharePoint Server product line matures in the coming years, you'll see the ability to execute queries against the index worked into many well-known interfaces.
Ability to index content regardless of where it is located. One difficulty with SharePoint Portal Server 2003 was its inability to crawl content held in different types of databases and structures. With the introduction of the Business Data Catalog (BDC), you can expose data from any data source and then crawl it for your index. The crawling, exposing, and finding of data from nontraditional data sources (such as file servers, SharePoint sites, Web sites, and Microsoft Exchange public folders) will depend directly on your BDC implementation. Without the BDC, the ability to crawl and index information from any source will be diminished.
A scalable, manageable, extensible, and secure search and indexing product. Microsoft has invested a large amount of capital into making its search engine scalable, more easily managed, extensible, and more secure. In this chapter, you'll learn about how this has taken place.
As you can see, these are aggressive goals. But they are goals that, for the most part, have been attained in SharePoint Server 2007. In addition, you'll find that the strategies Microsoft has used to meet these goals are innovative and smart.