Search is one of the key functions allowing users to find necessary products quickly. Search quality influences whether your customers are satisfied with the results found or not.
Magento 2 is fitted with support suitable for different search engines. Moreover, you’re provided with a bunch of different search features like autosuggest and autocomplete.
Autocomplete predicts user’s search query focusing on the characters he has already entered. All suggestions are displayed, so it’s convenient for a user to select the appropriate one by clicking.
Autocomplete is supposed to be an obtrusive, as the request can also be entered completely or selected from the suggestion list that saves time and keystrokes. The function is of great value for mobile phones and tablets where typing is rather hard because of limited screen size and lack of keyboard. The best autocomplete results can be expected when the choice is based on the restricted vocabulary consisting of product names, categories, brands.
Unlike autocomplete, the main idea of autosuggest is to search the unlimited list of related words as well as phrases which may (or may not) match query string.
It is considered as exploration and applied when a user doesn’t know exactly what he wants to find. In this case, autosuggest can provide more choices which probably match the search query.
The most significant advantage of autocomplete and autosuggest is saving time. As for autosuggest, there’s such an extra option as helping users find something interesting they might have thought of.
Mysql Fulltext search is Magento 2 default search engine. It doesn’t require you to install any additional software or modules because Mysql Fulltext search is provided by Mysql Database Engine which Magento 2 runs on by default. While this solution doesn’t provide you with the best possible search relevance or speed, it will work with any hosting provider with no additional disk space or indexing time.
ElasticSearch is an opensource search engine written in Java and based on Apache Lucene search library. It provides fulltext indexing, near-realtime search and an API with the help of which Magento 2 can communicate with it using many available integration extensions.
Elasticsearch is the most popular enterprise search engine followed by Apache Solr.
Apache Solr is an opensource search platform which is also based on Apache Lucene library and developed by the same team (Apache Lucene/Solr project).
Which search engine should be chosen?
All the search engines (except Mysql search) provide almost identical benefits for regular Magento 2 Store such as high search speed, relevance, search results control, etc. Any search engines described above will be an excellent addition to your Magento store.
But keep in mind that in the future Magento 2 Enterprise Edition is going to drop Solr support in favor of ElasticSearch, but this technology will still be available while using third-party extensions.