The Windows Live Search Beta launch yesterday gives me an opportunity to write my first post on search, since moving to the search team back in November.
This release has many highlights, including a new UI featuring infinite scroll and a snazzy new image search. Speaking of image search, the Image Search Gadget is really cool - it lets you search for images from right within your live.com homepage. (To try it out, just navigate to 'add stuff' -> Windows Live -> Image Search -> 'add' from the live.com homepage.) The reviews on the new UI seem to be mixed - a lot of people liked it in general, but had some issues with the performance, unusual scroll bar behavior etc. Well, I know the UI team is eager to hear your feedback, so if you have any, leave a comment here and I will pass it on. You can also leave your feedback on the team blog.
But the feature I wanted to write about today is something called Search Macros. Macros are search modifiers that can help you perform a more targeted or specific search. In some sense, they let you build your own search engine and share it with others.
In this release, you can chose from a set of existing macros (built by members of the search team and some ETech conference attendees) which you can find here. To try a macro, just click on the 'add to live.com' link/image you will find on its page. You can then pin the macro on your live.com scope bar, alongside the default scopes like web, news and images, to use anytime you do a search in the future.
But why would you want to use a macro? Here are a few scenarios where they can come in handy:
So I think macros are simple, yet powerful tools - try some out and see what you think! We will be adding the ability to create macros very soon, so do check back (I will blog about it as well)!
Lots of people have been talking about this feature in the blogosphere. If you have a comment, feel free to leave it here or better yet, blog about it!