Microsoft Search 365: Just Wonderful Wonderful

June 22, 2020

Analyses of Microsoft’s long romance with enterprise search forget some bad dates. There was the era of dozens of search systems; each unit at Softie HQ knew how to make information findable. Remember Outlook Express? Then there were acquisitions. What about that search system in NCompass? How about that earth shaker Powerset? Yeah, I thought you would remember the spilled chocolate shakes, the slapped hands, and the angry parents.

What about Fast Search & Transfer? Quite a buy in 2008! So what if the Fast senior management had to dodge legal eagles for a few years? Does anyone recall the refusal of some customers of the Fast ESP refusing to pay their bills? The financial fancy dancing. No, why bother.

I could go on, but I won’t. The write up “Microsoft Search in Microsoft 365: A Valuable Enterprise Search Engine” does not bring up the past. Nobody cares. Enterprise search is a joke. No one in his or her right mind wants a company search engine to wander hither and yon to find semi relevant information. Those using enterprise search — remember, it’s a myth, gentle reader — want to locate the PowerPoint the crazy sales manager changed for yesterday’s presentation in Reno. Where is it? Well, it sure isn’t in an enterprise search system. What’s in the enterprise search system is the angry email from the customer in the presentation audience who heard the sales wizard reveal the actual pricing of the deal. That customer wants the sales manager’s head, not a list of search results. And you, gentle reader, are trying to find the presentation in the Enterprise 365 whatever. Well, good luck with that.

The write up asserts:

Before a user can use Microsoft Search, they must be logged into Microsoft 365. Once logged in, the user needs only to open their browser, go to, and enter the search query. Upon doing so, Bing will return both public and private search results.

There you go, JEDI fans. There’s nothing like snagging a laptop and having access to a search system that displays the user’s view of an organization’s data. That access control works like a champ just like Microsoft’s Windows 10 updates.

Plus you get links to lots of stuff. Particularly useful is “All” which presents any oddball hit that the system knows is that PowerPoint which has not been indexed and is therefore unfindable unless you meet the sales wizard at the airport.

Are there flaws in the 365 search? Sure there are. The author identifies one the size of a pre extinction brontosaurus:

In my opinion, the most significant limitation associated with using Microsoft Search is that the search engine does not index your file servers. It assumes that most of your file data reside in SharePoint Online. The only way that Microsoft Search can index files stored on-premises is if you have a hybrid SharePoint deployment and the files that you want to index are stored within SharePoint.

Yeah, but what about that “all”? Seems like a logical fallacy, doesn’t it. All with notable omissions. Oh, well, home economics courses don’t spend much time of stuff like logic. Chopped onions, yes? Logical Grand Canyons? Nah.

Net net: Microsoft has been lost in search space for decades. Will the company deliver a system that mostly works? Hey, the purpose of enterprise search at Microsoft is the generation of work for Microsoft Certified Professionals. Those experts don’t need something to work to subscribe to a Porsche. That means Microsoft’s enterprise search mirrors the enterprise search industry quite well, thank you.

Stephen E Arnold, June 22, 2020

Mindbreeze: Big News from Austria

June 19, 2020

Moving enterprise search and data analysis to the cloud means security becomes an even greater concern, and one provider recently had an audit performed on its platform. Olean Times Herald reports, “Mindbreeze InSpire SaaS Receives SOC2 Type 1 Attestation.” A System and Organization Controls 2 audit assesses how well a system complies with certain standards on the handling of data. “Type 1” means the assessment reports on a snapshot of time, no longer than six months. Consulting company KPMG completed the audit report. The write-up tells us:

“In the context of the auditing process, KPMG examined whether the Trust Services Criteria (TSC) for security – issued by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) – are observed. This involved inspecting and documenting the existing internal control mechanisms for the services offered, such as those relating to risk minimization, access controls, monitoring measures, and communication. The audit took the form of an ISAE 3000 Type 1 audit (testing the design and the implementation for a specific deadline) and was conducted over a period of roughly four weeks. Mindbreeze received the final test results as an ISAE 3000 SOC2 Type 1 Report.”

The report will provide information to Mindbreeze’s clients and auditors. Founder and CEO Daniel Fallmann emphasizes that tight security and adherence to operating standards are priorities for his firm. The company’s platforms rely on AI tech to produce business insights to its clients. Based in Chicago, Mindbreeze was founded in 2015.

Cynthia Murrell, June 19, 2020

Hulbee Is In the Enterprise Search Derby

June 18, 2020

Enterprise search should be an easy out-of-the-box, deployable solution, but more often it is a confusing mess. Companies like Hulbee Enterprise Search develop search programs that delete the guesswork and immediately function:

“Hulbee Enterprise Search not only provides a simple search software, but also consolidates our experience and knowledge, which has been accumulated for over 17 years and combines intelligent search, format diversity, different corporate infrastructures, security, etc. in areas such as document management.

Our goal is to create a timely software technology for you that meets all security requirements. We would be very pleased if you test our software. Request a Proof of Concept.

Our software complements existing software products from other manufacturers such as SharePoint, Exchange, DMS etc. through the innovation of the search. It is thus not a competition, but an addition to and completion of the optimal search in the company.”

The purpose of enterprise search is to quickly locate information, so it can be employed by a business. Information includes structured and unstructured data, so enterprise search needs to be robust and smart enough to filter relevant results. Search must also be compliant with security measures, especially as more businesses host their data on clouds.

Enterprise search solutions like Hulbee must be flexible enough to adjust to changing security measures, but also continue to offer the same and better features for search.

Customization is key to being a contender in the marker for enterprise search.

Whitney Grace, June 18, 2020

Google and Pirate Sites

June 16, 2020

DarkCyber is preparing for the National Cyber Crime Conference lectures: Two live and one on pre-recorded video. We noted in our feed this article: “Popular Pirate Sites Slowly ‘Disappear’ From Google’s Top Search Results.” The write up states:

Over the past few months, it has become harder and harder to find the homepages of some popular pirate sites. Instead, Google points people to Wikipedia pages or entirely different – sometimes scammy – sites that use the same name. We’ll address a few examples here, contrasting our findings with Bing and DuckDuckGo.


Some DarkCyber readers may want to note that pointers to stolen software are findable in Google’s YouTube service. Here’s a results page for illegal and cracks of Photoshop CC6:


Why are these results appearing? There are other examples of content protected by copyright and other regulations. Try queries for other popular software.

The videos are either tutorials with links in comments, download locations within the videos as static text, or often amusing videos of the steps one must follow to get the software up and running, often with malware along for the ride.

How does one find this information? Just type the name of the software and the secret word “crack” or a synonym.

If the information in the cited article is correct, whatever Google is doing to filter search results, the story may be incomplete.

Doesn’t Google have a list of stops words which allow certain content to be blocked? Doesn’t Google have supreme domination of smart software? Doesn’t Google have its eye on the legal ball?

DarkCyber sure doesn’t know the answer. Now what about partners who recycle Google search results for their metasearch systems? There is another story there, but DarkCyber is not a “real news” outfit like Fox News which altered via Photoshop some images. Who owns Fox News? Isn’t it Mr. Murdoch, who also owns the Wall Street Journal?

Are there any similarities in corporate gyroscopes between some of these large, globe spanning companies? Nah.

Stephen E Arnold, June 16, 2020

Apple: Search Still Missing from Its Core

June 5, 2020

How about that search function for the App Store? The “new” and “improved” baby iTunes?

This new AI-powered search platform targets a very specific audience. DEVONagent is tailor made for researchers who do their work on Macs, not PCs. It gathers search results from user-specified search engines and removes irrelevant results. Furthermore, it will check selected websites and notify the user when something new matches their query. The description reveals:

“DEVONagent filters everything on its own. Use advanced Boolean operators, proximity operators, and wildcards of unlimited complexity even when the search engines can’t handle them. DEVONagent finds, e.g., galleries or linked documents for you too. Its unique See Also list lets you dig deeper. Read a smart summary of the results, go through them one by one, or explore them with the topics map. Archive the good ones, discard the others. DEVONagent’s web browser, built for research, lets you extract images, news feeds, links, email addresses, even linked documents, with a single click and save them for reference or reuse. The searchable archive keeps your results for reference. Alternatively send them to DEVONthink or save them as files. DEVONagent exports your research in a variety of formats, from a simple list of bookmarks to comprehensive RTF digests and PDF reports. Save your search to continue later on or share it with your coworkers.”

There is a free version, called DEVONagent Lite, but the search assistant earns its keep through two paid versions: Pro ($49.95) and Express ($4.95). DEVONtechnologies uses AI to manage torrents of information; its other products include an app to manage documents and one to map connections between seemingly unrelated pieces of data. (Yes, those are also iOS-specific.) Based in Coeur D’alene, Idaho, the company was founded in 2002.

Cynthia Murrell, June 6, 2020

Coveo Enterprise Search: A Pivot and a Double Flip from a 15 Year Old Startup

June 4, 2020

DarkCyber noted this story in a New Zealand online information service: “Xero Partners with Coveo to Empower Small Businesses with Machine Learning.” The write states:

Xero has partnered with Coveo to empower small businesses with new functionality on its app marketplace search, powered by machine learning.

Before taking a look at the direct quotes in the article, DarkCyber needs to answer two questions.

First, what’s Coveo? According to the firm’s Web site, the company:

Provide effortless tailored journeys with the Coveo Experience Intelligence Platform. Imagine the experiences you could deliver by embracing the cloud, data, and AI today.

Got that? Coveo was profiled in the first three editions of the Enterprise Search Report as a vendor of Microsoft-centric search and retrieval. Over the years, the company has evolved or at least changed. The firm offered its search system as a customer support component and now it has evolved into providing “tailored journeys”. Let’s call this enterprise search.

Second, what’s Xero? The company’s Web site explains:

Xero is the emerging global leader of online accounting software that connects small businesses to their advisors and other services. Xero provides business owners with real-time visibility of their financial position and performance in a way that’s simple, smart and secure. For accountants, Xero forges a trusted relationship with clients through online collaboration and gives accountants the opportunity to extend their services.

Okay, the company wants to offer an online “store” to sell licenses to companies looking for accounting software.

Now back to the write up. The article quotes an executive at Coveo as saying:

Coveo CEO and chairman Louis Tetu says, “Creating intelligent experiences like Xeros [sic] app marketplace and Xero Central are critical to compete in today’s experience economy. Digital leaders run on data and AI to create the relevant, unified experiences their customers expect – while adding real business value. Few companies understand that better than Xero. Whether a small business is looking to move sales online, coordinate staff or manage projects, Xero’s app marketplace features an array of third-party apps to help with their unique industry and business administration challenges.”

DarkCyber thinks that this means that Coveo will provide product search for Xero’s online store. It is easy to be mystified by words like “intelligence experiences,” “experience economy”, and AI (artificial intelligence). Yeah, jargon is one way to get around the fact that Coveo is providing search and retrieval. (SLI Systems — New Zealand eCommerce search system — is probably surprised by the lingo as well.)

How does Xero explain search? One of Xero’s managers says:

“We’ve seen a 50% increase in people searching for cash flow apps from February to April this year, so we know making it easy to access the right technology is more important than ever…. Tapping into smart insights through machine learning, not only improves the journey for time-poor small businesses, but enables us to consistently evolve our offering to provide beautiful experiences for our customers.

Okay, jargon like “machine learning,” “time poor”, and “beautiful experiences” seems to be a bit of frosting on a donut.

The Canadian company has licensed its search system to a New Zealand accounting centric company to provide search and retrieval for about 800 products.

Interesting. DarkCyber assumes that the inclusion of the buzzwords and jargon is an attempt to make a fairly straightforward ecommerce service into something with a bit more zing. Did it work? You decide because eCommerce search features established options like Elasticsearch and new solutions from vendors like Luigis Box. Coveo was founded in 2005 as a spin off from Copernic desktop search. Luigis Box, on the other hand, was founded in 2017.

Stephen E Arnold, June 4, 2020

Command E: A Cross App Search Tool?

June 3, 2020

There are two ways to search on a devices: using a search engine or the device’s search function. As of now, a tool does not exist that searches across an entire device. TechCrunch shares that searching might change with, “Command E Raises $4.3 Million To Build The Ultimate Cross-App Search Tool.” Command E is a San Francisco based tech startup that has worked on unified desktop search tool for the past two years. The tool is designed to search across every app loaded on a device.

Command E was founded by Tom Uebel and Ben Standefer with the goal to address new enterprise problems have arisen, particularly the need for across the board communication between all devices and application. Standefer and Uebel discovered multiple problems with software integration and it inspired them to develop a universal enterprise search solution.

Uebel said:

“ ‘Enterprise search has traditionally been this big bulky IT integration, we’ve changed it to where you can download it and have all your accounts connected and your data synced in five minutes,’ CEO Tom Uebel tells TechCrunch. ‘As the costs of building purpose-built tools keeps coming down, I think you’re going to see a lot of really great software continue to proliferate. Part of our thesis is that you’re going to need a layer to glue them all together in a nice way.’”

Command E’s nice layer of glue raised $4.3 billion in seed funding. The company plans on using the money to hire more team members.

Command E wants their search tool to be available as a simple keyboard shortcut that seamlessly connects and searches every enterprise service. Data integration is not Command E’s only trouble, they also are working on data encryption with the search tool.

If Command E is successful will they sell their tool to enterprise system developers or as a separate extension that is not part of the bigger package?

Whitney Grace, June 3, 2020

Now These Are Numbers You Can Bank On

June 1, 2020

In the midst of the pandemic, DarkCyber noted “How Semantic Search Helps Users Help Themselves.” The write up is from Lucidworks, a company reselling open source engineering support, proprietary software, and other jazzed up solutions. In the write up was a reference to an IBM document. The idea is that the IBM data make a case for buying IBM? Of course not. The data support the contention that semantic search is like training wheels on a toddler’s bicycle.

What are these magical data? First, the data come from an IBM blog post dated October 17, 2017. That’s a couple of years ago. Change does happen, doesn’t it?

Check out these numbers:

  • Businesses spend $1.3 trillion on 265 billion customer service calls each year
  • Phone interactions cost around $35-$50
  • Text chat costs about $8-$10 per session
  • It is realistic to aim to deflect between 40% – 80% of common customer service inquiries to automated frameworks.
  • A drop in per-query cost from $15-$200 (human agents) to $1 (virtual agents)

What’s the connection to the SOLR centric Lucidworks? The company wants to convince prospects that it has the solution known as chatbots. Clever phrase for what is a cost reduction play. Do chatbots work? That depends on whom one asks.

The good thing about chatbots is that they don’t create Rona hot spots. The bad thing is that most of the chatbots don’t work particularly well.

The IBM data, even though old and not in step with the Rona business climate, suggest that the on going cost of helping a “customer” deal with a product and service is brutal. Combine these here and now costs with the technical debt of informationized products and services and what do you get?

The short answer is that one has to have quite a bit of money to keep the good ship technology afloat.

Even Google-type companies, faced with sky rocketing costs and a dicey economic environment, are having to make money saving changes.

Net net: The happy talk about super duper technologies often creates cost black holes. What about IBM? Layoffs and ultra hedgey forecasts. What about Lucidworks type outfits? Wow. Much sales work ahead.

One suggestion? Watch those assertions and one’s cost accounting. Can one “help oneself”? Absolutely, maybe.

Stephen E Arnold, June 1, 2020

Crazy Enterprise Search Report: Sketchy Astounding Info PLUS a Free Consultation

June 1, 2020

This week’s crazy enterprise search report is titled “Enterprise Search Market: Global Industry Analysis 2020-2026 by Types, Applications and Key Players.” The content seems to be a rehash, reprint, or repositioning of the weird Covid and enterprise search market report. The DarkCyber team did a little poking around, and it appears the “author” of this report is using free news release services. As we have noted in our previous crazy ESR market stories, the companies covered are a fruit salad. Elastic is left out; Concept Searching is included. Also rans like Expert System, IBM, and SAP are included. The others? Well, each company uses “enterprise search” in its marketing material. That is close enough for horse shoes for this report.

But the real plus is that after you buy the multi thousand dollar report, the buyer gets “free consulting.” From whom? Not revealed? On what? Not disclosed. How good? Not addressed.

Some people must buy these reports. Google believes these news releases are “real news.” Well, that’s a plus. If one is not in Google, one does not exist,  right. That’s a bit like the market for enterprise search when Elasticsearch is a click away. The data in the report? Maybe a Hopf fibration calculation gone awry? Maybe Dr. Hopf (were he alive) would award an “A” for effort?

Stephen E Arnold, June 1, 2020

Wiby Search

May 29, 2020

DarkCyber noted the existence of Wiby, a throwback Web search system, in 2017. The idea for the service is to process queries. The queries are matched to shorter or old-fashioned Web pages. Let’s take a look at queries run on May 28, 2020, for some current hot topics. Wiby may be a precursor of the small Web movement. More details about this type of thinking appear in “Rediscovering the Small Web.”

Here’s the query for “Inca stone quarry” and the results:


The results are not directly related to the Inca or quarries. The system did return an off color headline “Results of Suck Off Between Eminem, Rolling Stone, and the Grammy’s.” DarkCyber doubts the relevance methodology used by Wiby.

A less arcane query “Ryzen 3950x” retrieved these results:


One similarity between each result set is the appearance of the morpheme “suck.” DarkCyber finds this interesting. The results are off point.

There is also some basic information about the service on the unlinked About page. We learned:

Search engines like Google are indispensable, able to find answers to all of your technical questions; but along the way, the fun of web surfing was lost. In the early days of the web, pages were made primarily by hobbyists, academics, and computer savvy people about subjects they were interested in. Later on, the web became saturated with commercial pages that overcrowded everything else. All the personalized websites are hidden among a pile of commercial pages. Google isn’t great at finding those gems, its focus is on finding answers to technical questions, and it works well; but finding things you didn’t know you wanted to know, which was the real joy of web surfing, no longer happens. In addition, many pages today are created using bloated scripts that add slick cosmetic features in order to mask the lack of content available on them. Those pages contribute to the blandness of today’s web. The Wiby search engine is building a web of pages as it was in the earlier days of the internet. In addition, Wiby helps vintage computers to continue browsing the web, as page results are more suitable for their performance. What’s the upside of Wiby? The system does generate some surprising results. No query is needed. Wiby offers a link which says “surprise me.”

Wiby also offers an old fashioned “submit a url” form. I entered one of my Web sites. Nothing happened, but maybe there is an editorial review process which struggles with law enforcement and intelligence related content? You can find the “submit a url” page at this link.

When one has an idle moment, a click on surprise me can be interesting.

Stephen E Arnold, May 29, 2020

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