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When signed into ArcGIS Online using ArcMap (File > ArcGIS Online), no search results are returned in the ArcGIS Online window. In addition, it is not indicated that the user is logged in to ArcGIS Online.
This behavior is related to the security settings configured in the ArcGIS.com Organization Settings. If the 'Allow access to the organization through SSL only' box is checked, only users accessing ArcGIS Online layers using SSL are able to search using the ArcGIS Online window in ArcMap. This setting can be found at www.arcgis.com; My Organization > Edit Settings > Security.
Either procedure listed below enables the ArcGIS Online search function.
Add 'https://www.arcgis.com/' to the ArcGIS Portal Connection in ArcMap. This allows access to ArcGIS Online through SSL.
If the organizational requirements allow it, uncheck the 'Allow access to the organization through SSL only' checkbox in arcgis.com: Edit Settings (organization settings) > Security.
Note: This can only be performed by an Organization Administrator.