What's new in Azure Cognitive Search

Learn what's new in the service. Bookmark this page to keep up to date with the service. Check out the Preview feature list to view a comprehensive list of features that are not yet generally available.

July 2021

Feature                         Description Availability
Search REST API 2021-04-30-Preview Adds REST API support for indexer connections made using managed identities and Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) authentication. Public preview
Role-based authorization (preview) Authenticate using Azure Active Directory and new built-in roles for data plane access to indexes and indexing, eliminating or reducing the dependency on API keys. Public preview (by request). After your subscription is on-boarded, use Azure portal or the Management REST API version 2021-04-01-Preview to configure a search service for data plane authentication.
Management REST API 2021-04-01-Preview Modifies Create or Update Service to support new DataPlaneAuthOptions. Public preview

May 2021

Feature                         Description Availability
Power Query connector support (preview) Indexers can now index from other cloud platforms. If you are using an indexer to crawl external data sources for indexing, you can now use Power Query connectors to connect to Amazon Redshift, Elasticsearch, PostgreSQL, Salesforce Objects, Salesforce Reports, Smartsheet, and Snowflake.

Announcement (techcommunity blog)
Public preview (by request), using REST api-version=2020-06-30-Preview and Azure portal.
Azure Data Lake Storage Gen2 The ADLS Gen2 data source used by indexers is now generally available. Generally available, using REST api-version=2020-06-30 and Azure portal.
MySQL support (preview) For indexer-based indexing, announcing preview data source support for Azure MySQL. Public preview, REST api-version=2020-06-30-Preview, .NET SDK 11.2.1, and Azure portal.
More queryLanguages for spell check and semantic results For query requests that invoke spell check or queryType=semantic, you can now set the queryLanguage to a non-English language for 38 languages.

Announcement (techcommunity blog)
Public preview (by request).

Use Search Documents (REST) api-version=2020-06-30-Preview, Azure.Search.Documents 11.3.0-beta.2, or Search explorer in Azure portal.

Region and tier restrictions apply.
Double encryption availability For search indexes and objects that are encrypted through customer-managed keys, double encryption (encryption of both static and temporary disks) is now implemented in all supported regions. In all regions, subject to service creation dates.

April 2021

Feature                         Description Availability
Gremlin API support (preview) For indexer-based indexing, you can now create a data source that retrieves content from Cosmos DB accessed through the Gremlin API. Public preview (by request), using api-version=2020-06-30-Preview.

March 2021

Feature                         Description Availability
Semantic search (preview) A collection of query-related features that significantly improve the relevance of search results through minimal adjustments to a query request.

Semantic ranking computes relevance scores using the semantic meaning behind words and content.

Semantic captions return relevant passages from the document that best summarize the document, with highlights over the most important terms or phrases.

Semantic answers return key passages, extracted from a search document, that are formulated as a direct answer to a query that looks like a question.
Public preview (by request).

Use Search Documents (REST) api-version=2020-06-30-Preview or Search explorer in Azure portal.

Region and tier restrictions apply.
Spell check query terms (preview) Before query terms reach the search engine, you can have them checked for spelling errors. The speller option works with any query type (simple, full, or semantic). Public preview, REST only, api-version=2020-06-30-Preview
SharePoint Online indexer (preview) This indexer connects you to a SharePoint Online site so that you can index content from a document library. Public preview, REST only, api-version=2020-06-30-Preview
Normalizers (preview) Normalizers provide simple text pre-processing: consistent casing, accent removal, and ASCII folding, without invoking the full text analysis chain. Public preview, REST only, api-version=2020-06-30-Preview
Custom Entity Lookup skill A cognitive skill that looks for text from a custom, user-defined list of words and phrases. Using this list, it labels all documents with any matching entities. The skill also supports a degree of fuzzy matching that can be applied to find matches that are similar but not quite exact. Generally available.

February 2021

Feature                         Description Availability
Reset Documents (preview) Reprocesses individually selected search documents in indexer workloads. Search REST API 2020-06-30-Preview
Availability Zones Search services with two or more replicas in certain regions, as listed in Scale for performance, gain resiliency by having replicas in two or more distinct physical locations. The region and date of search service creation determine availability. See the Scale for performance article for details.
Azure CLI
Azure PowerShell
New revisions now provide the full range of operations in the Management REST API 2020-08-01, including support for IP firewall rules and private endpoint. Generally available.

January 2021

Feature                         Description Availability
Solution accelerator for Azure Cognitive Search and QnA Maker Pulls questions and answers out of the document and suggest the most relevant answers. A live demo app can be found at https://aka.ms/qnaWithAzureSearchDemo. Open-source project (no SLA)

2020 Archive

Month Feature Description
November Customer-managed key encryption (extended) Extends customer-managed encryption over the full range of assets created and managed by a search service. Generally available.
September Visual Studio Code extension for Azure Cognitive Search Adds a workspace, navigation, intellisense, and templates for creating indexes, indexers, data sources, and skillsets. This feature is currently in public preview.
September Managed service identity (indexers) Generally available.
September Outbound requests using a private link Generally available.
September Management REST API (2020-08-01) Generally available.
September Management REST API (2020-08-01-Preview) Adds shared private link resource for Azure Functions and Azure SQL for MySQL Databases.
September Management .NET SDK 4.0 Azure SDK update for the management SDK, targeted REST API version 2020-08-01. Generally available.
August double encryption Generally available on all search services created after August 1, 2020 in these regions: West US 2, East US, South Central US, US Gov Virginia, US Gov Arizona.
July Azure.Search.Documents client library Azure SDK for .NET, generally available.
July azure.search.documents client library Azure SDK for Python, generally available.
July @azure/search-documents client library Azure SDK for JavaScript, generally available.
June Knowledge store Generally available.
June Search REST API 2020-06-30 Generally available.
June Search REST API 2020-06-30-Preview Adds Reset Skillset to selectively reprocess skills, and incremental enrichment.
June Okapi BM25 relevance algorithm Generally available.
June executionEnvironment (applies to search services using Azure Private Link.) Generally available.
June AML skill (preview) A cognitive skill that extends AI enrichment with a custom Azure Machine Learning (AML) model.
May Debug sessions (preview) Skillset debugger in the portal.
May IP rules for in-bound firewall support Generally available.
May Azure Private Link for a private search endpoint Generally available.
May Managed service identity (indexers) - (preview) Connect to Azure data sources using a managed identity.
May sessionId query parameter, scoringStatistics=global parameter Global search statistics, useful for machine learning (LearnToRank) models for search relevance.
May featuresMode relevance score expansion (preview)
March Native blob soft delete (preview) Deletes search documents if the source blob is soft-deleted in blob storage.
March Management REST API (2020-03-13) Generally available.
February PII Detection skill (preview) A cognitive skill that extracts and masks personal information.
February Custom Entity Lookup skill (preview) A cognitive skill that finds words and phrases from a list and labels all documents with matching entities.
January Customer-managed key encryption Generally available
January IP rules for in-bound firewall support (preview) New IpRule and NetworkRuleSet properties in CreateOrUpdate API.
January Create a private endpoint (preview) Set up a Private Link for secure connections to your search service. This preview feature has a dependency Azure Private Link and Azure Virtual Network as part of the solution.

2019 Archive

Month Feature Description
December Create Demo App A wizard that generates a downloadable HTML file with query (read-only) access to an index, intended as a validation and testing tool rather than a short cut to a full client app.
November Incremental enrichment (preview) Caches skillset processing for future reuse.
November Document Extraction skill (preview) A cognitive skill to extract the contents of a file from within a skillset.
November Text Translation skill A cognitive skill used during indexing that evaluates and translates text. Generally available.
November Power BI templates Template for visualizing content in knowledge store
November Azure Data Lake Storage Gen2 (preview) and Cosmos DB Gremlin API (preview) New indexer data sources in public preview.
July Azure Government Cloud support Generally available.

New service name

Azure Search was renamed to Azure Cognitive Search in October 2019 to reflect the expanded (yet optional) use of cognitive skills and AI processing in core operations. API versions, NuGet packages, namespaces, and endpoints are unchanged. New and existing search solutions are unaffected by the service name change.

Service updates

Service update announcements for Azure Cognitive Search can be found on the Azure web site.