Microsoft Azure Gains Smarter Search, Hybrid Cloud Test Environments
In its latest batch of Azure updates, Microsoft introduces personalized search and new hybrid cloud test environments.Microsoft wants to help customers of its cloud-based "search-as-a-service" offering, dubbed simply Azure Search, deliver more relevant results to their users. Azure Search first launched as a preview on Aug. 21, 2014, along with Azure DocumentDB, the company's stab at NoSQL document storage services. Liam Cavanagh, senior program manager of Azure Search, announced that his team has added a new capability to the service's scoring profile feature, which ranks search results depending on the parameters set by developers. The new function, available as part of an experimental application programming interface (API), called tag scoring, enables customers to fine-tune results to match a user's personal preferences. In an e-commerce context, "you could use the purchase history of your customers to produce tags for each of them, you could use machine learning/clustering techniques to group and tag them based on what they've put in their shopping carts, or even manually tag them," said Cavanagh in a Feb. 5 company blog post detailing the new feature. Business applications can also benefit, he claimed.
Tag scoring can improve productivity by delivering more relevant results from the start. For example, "in line-of-business applications used by different departments, you can use the user's department as a query tag and boost documents (e.g., customer records, marketing campaigns, contact information, whatever you're indexing) most related to their particular area of work, assuming each document has an 'area' or 'areas' field that captures the affinity of each document to one or more areas," he said.