Amidst the recent announcements and hype surrounding the launch of the SharePoint 2016 On-premises preview, a somewhat hazy announcement has been made around the release of the Cloud Search Service Application.
In an effort to provide some clarity, the release of SharePoint 2016 On-premises preview includes the new Cloud SSA, and an updated was included in the August 2015 Cumulative Update for SharePoint 2013 On-premises to include the new Cloud SSA too.
Although both the 2013 and 2016 preview versions of the on-premises products now include the new Cloud SSA, this doesn't mean that you can start taking advantage of these new Hybrid Search experiences just yet. To take advantage of this functionality Microsoft need to go through a process of enabling SharePoint Online tenancies to allow for this feature to be used. Furthermore, to work through the configuration of connecting your on-premises farms to your SharePoint Online tenancies, you'll need access to configuration steps and scripts that Microsoft will provide in due course.
As indicated in this Microsoft knowledge base article, Microsoft expect to have much of this in place by September 7th, at which point I'd expect they'd also start to support this feature for all customers.
Any updates and progressions on this topic will be posted here within our Insights as soon as we hear more!
To learn more about the solutions we provide on SharePoint 2016, talk a look here. You can also get in touch with us directly to discuss an upcoming project.