When Azure Search launched, I posted that a basic tier would be very helpful as the standard tier started at $250 per month. This seemed like a lot of money for a basic search engine.
Microsoft has just launched in preview a new Basic tier that costs $38 / month. The basic tier has some limits on overall storage (2 GB), queries per second (3), indexes per service (5), number of documents (1 million) and the number of scale out units (3) but for many small web sites they likely won’t exceed these limits. For example, this blog uses Azure Search and it barely uses the available capacity in the free tier.