Back in February Brandon Paddock and Alwin Vyhmeister authored the Windows 7 Federated Search Provider Implementer’s Guide and described federated search as follows:

Federated search enables users to search remote data sources from within Windows Explorer. Remote data sources make themselves searchable with a simple web front end that exposes their search capabilities.

Windows® 7 introduces support for search federation to remote data stores using OpenSearch technologies that enable users to access and interact with their remote data from within Windows Explorer.

Imagine being able to open Windows Explorer on your PC and search popular sites directly from there. Instead of opening a browser window, going to a site, finding the search box, entering your search words and getting your results you would just open Windows Explorer and search right there using the search connector for that site.

What are the benefits of this method compared to the normal search methods? I will let Brandon and Alwin answer that:

The benefit of integrating your data source with Windows Explorer is that users can get at all of their information by using the already familiar Windows Explorer user interface. Your users will be able to see files from your remote data source just as they would local files, with the right application icons and context menus. They can preview documents or web pages, see thumbnails of images, and drag and drop a file directly to the desktop or into an email.

I am not sure about you but that sounds pretty handy to me.

I did some digging online and found several search connectors that are already built – all you have to do is install them on your Windows 7 system and you will have access to them in your Searches folder in Windows Explorer.

Once you have downloaded the file you just click on it to install it.  After that click you will get a dialog box like this:


Once you add that search connector to Windows 7 it will appear in your search folder in Windows Explorer:


These dialog screens are for my sites search connector and your welcome to download it right here if you want to try it out.

[Download not found]