One of the many great new features in Windows 7 is something called Federated Search. As we’ve mentioned before, this new type of search allows you to add “search connectors” that let you perform searches of internet-connected web sites and databases in addition to just searching your local files. It’s a full-on mingling of the web and the machine. Earlier, we pointed you to a link for a zip file of some of Chris Pirillo’s favorite search connectors, and now let’s look at you how you can use them.
First thing’s first – you have to click the above link to download the zip file. If you’re having trouble with the link (it was slow to load for me), you can grab Redmond Pie's pack or the Twitter Search Connector from this site, at the very least.
On the dialog box that appears, just click “Open.” The connector will be installed automatically.
Now – how do you use them? This actually is the easiest part. You can perform searches from within any open Explorer window – just use the search box in the upper-right corner. (You can also start a search from the Start Menu, but here you have to click the “See More Results” link to be taken to an Explorer window where you can begin to use the various connectors.)
Here’s an example of me searching all Twitter posts for the phrase “new Twitter app”:
Notice how my search terms have been highlighted in the results and the results themselves are sorted in chronological order with the newest posts first.
Now if I come across a post I want to see on the web, I simply double-click the entry. That takes me to the actual web page where I can read the original item.
Example - Checking out this tweet about Chirp, a new WPF-based Twitter app:
That’s it! Search connectors aren’t uber-geeky or hard to use at all. All you have to do is click and install them when you find someone who has them available for download on the net.
(Note: Chris Pirillo's pack contains a FriendFeed search connector – a must have for all us social media addicts!)