We’re proud to release our latest web part: Universal Search! Universal Search lets you search a bunch of different search engines (Microsoft 365, SharePoint, Google, Bing, DuckDuckGo, etc.) from one central page. Every search opens in a new tab and gives you instant results.
Universal Search is a small web part and can be plopped onto any SharePoint Page or loaded into Microsoft Teams. You can configure it to change the styling and show different search options. You can download the web part right now from now.regroove.ca. The download is completely free and comes with instructions on how to deploy the web part to your SharePoint site and as an app in Microsoft Teams.
We’ve also open-sourced Universal Search! You can find the code in our GitHub repository if you’re so inclined and do whatever it is you want with it!
Why we made it
The idea for Universal Search came right from our CEO, chief troublemaker Sean Wallbridge. He noticed one day that Microsoft had done a great job revamping their search and rebranding it as Microsoft 365 search but also identified a problem – nobody goes to the Office Portal home page, despite Microsoft’s best efforts in trying to make that happen.
It’s too bad, because the new Microsoft 365 search is pretty amazing. It’s basically what Teams search should be, which is one search that looks up almost everything in one place across your organization – inside and outside Microsoft Teams. So, if it’s a file shared in a channel, an item in a list, or related to a group, Microsoft 365 search should be able to find it.
Unfortunately, there’s one major problem with it: No one know about it, and the search is competing with a half-dozen or so other search services in Office 365. You know, SharePoint Search, Teams Search, Graph Search, Outlook Search, etc.
Our solution was to make it easier to find. So, he had one of our team members build this Microsoft Universal Search web part and throw it on a page in SharePoint. We then extended it to interact with a few of the other common search engines, and added a link to our internal Navo, making sure we could really find it. Turns out, the search is pretty useful and we decided we should share the love and distribute the web part for free.
How we built Universal Search
The Universal Search web part is built on the SharePoint Framework. It’s a fairly simple implementation built on top of out of the box components that come from Fluent UI and SharePoint itself.
The search querying relies on the fact that all the support search engines use URL queries to search. That ensures that as long as we’re constructing the queries in the same way, we can easily slot in any query we want and open it in a new tab.
Custom Development and Navo
We built the Universal Search web part using the knowledge we’ve built up working on Navo for the past 3 years. Navo is a service for sharing links in an organization and started as a SharePoint Application Customizer for adding a megamenu to a tenancy. It still does that, but now you can use those same links in our browser extension and our web app.
We also do custom development for clients, SharePoint or not. Get in touch with us at regroove.ca if you’re looking for help with your latest project.