Azure Cognitive Search (previously, Azure Search) is a cloud-based search service, that allows users to provide custom search functionality on web, mobile and enterprise applications.
The cognitive search solution sits in between content ingestion and search queries i.e. the Index and query engines. The data ingestion process creates a search index which is used for handling search queries. The reason the service was renamed to Azure Cognitive Search is because there is now an option to include cognitive AI skills during index creation. This creates useful AI-enriched information that can be used to improve search performance and knowledge mining.
Microsoft provides the following diagram for understanding how Azure Cognitive Search works:
There are two ways to expose the search functionality for an application: REST API and .NET SDK. These are simple APIs that mask the complexity of Azure Cognitive Search and make it easier to use.
Some scenarios and use cases for Azure Cognitive Search are mentioned below:
- To consolidate private, heterogenous content into an easily accessible and searchable index
- To add structured indexing to raw content such as text within image files and Microsoft Office documents
- Easy implementation of professional search solution and simplification of search related features
- To implement linguistic search requirements i.e. non-English content indexing using Microsoft’s natural language processors.