One of the things I love about SharePoint Conference and TechEd is hanging out with and learning from people who are tops in their field—the gurus. My favorite search guru is Jeff Fried, who came to Microsoft as part of the FAST Search acquisition and was technical product manager for all of our enterprise search technologies. Jeff is a search geek extraordinaire, but he has the gift of being able to talk about search in a way that we non-geeks can understand.

A few conferences ago I had a chance to catch up with Jeff, who's now CTO of Microsoft partner BA Insight. In the course of our conversation he said, "One thing that’s been opening my eyes now that I’m outside Microsoft is the general degree of low awareness around search." This surprised me because enterprise search is one of the top three capabilities that people want when they implement a SharePoint solution. Do people really just set it and forget it? So I asked Jeff if he would help us solve the awareness problem by writing a column that demystified SharePoint search and gave tips and guidance to make enterprise search more useful. I caught him at a weak moment, and he said yes.

Everybody needs a guide. Just as Virgil guided Dante through Inferno and Purgatorio, so we have Jeff Fried to guide us through the arcane world of SharePoint search. For his column—Enterprise Search: The View from the Crawl Space—Jeff has proposed several articles that will help us 100- and 200-level folks do simple things that will make search better quickly—for example, what to do with query logs, branding, tabs, and scopes. And for you who are already search geeks, he's proposed advanced articles about federation, search analytics, customization, search-driven applications, and mixing search with other workloads.

You can get Jeff's column from two different places on TechNet:

The first article—The Search Journey–went live this week. When Jeff writes each new article, I'll update the pages and link to the Download Center where you can get a Word or PDF version. Here's a quote from the first article:

"When search works well, people use it…the search journey gets richer and richer as you progress. Fielding great search—search that users love, search that makes everyone much more effective—isn't hard. It just requires awareness of the technology, sensitivity to the users, and a commitment to continual improvement."

I hope you enjoy the journey and like the column, and let us know what you think Jeff should write about next.