Windows 7: Federated Search

In part one of our overview of Windows 7, we look into Federated Search:

Windows Vista included the enhanced desktop search feature which helps users to readily locate files, e-mail messages, and other items on their PC . With the release of Windows Search 4.0, the performance of the search tool improved while adding much-needed manageability features for IT.

Windows 7 along with the desktop search, introduces Federated Search in which the scope of the search goes beyond your PC. You can now search for items in remote repositories from your PC. It is based on OpenSearch and the RSS format. Since it is based on open standards, it becomes very simple to create custom 'search connectors' for your own remote repositories. For example, you can search Flickr or Twitter from within explorer.

There are already few search connectors available for download:

The Federated Search feature looks very promising. As more sites add support for OpenSearch, expect to see more search connectors emerging for Windows 7. This is nothing new for Microsoft as OpenSearch has already been implemented in Internet Explorer 7(& above) and SharePoint Search.

There is no official documentation yet, but it is believed there will be a Windows 7 Beta SDK released once the beta is officially available later this week.

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Vista can already search within text files IF you've the file indexed. I believe it can do txt, log, doc, xls, pdf, etc...most of the common text formats. It can also index audio ID tags within the file. You can tell the indexer to look at only the filename or filename and content.

Windows 7 will have Windows Search 4.0 that's also available for Vista. It's already released on Microsoft downloads.

aarste said,
Perhaps a little off topic, but can Windows 7 search for a certain word of text inside files yet? (txt, log, or whatever)

Yes, just like in Vista. If the text files is in an indexed location, then it will automatically search the contents of the file when you search that folder / drive / location.

If it is not indexed, there will be a "Search in File Contents" link at the bottom of the results after you type the search query. Click that, and it will do a (very slow) search in the contents of all files in that location.

Search, the Microsoft "Achilles Heel". The main problem with Microsoft search is :
a) performance issue (slow! ).
b) Irrelevant resultant.

Can you say this new search feature will be different?.

Do you mean Live Search, or Windows Search?

Anyway, the results are provided by the sites that are being searched, so it has nothing to do with Microsoft. (I think)

Is this article about the Search Accelerators in IE8 or the Federated Search that is part of Search Server 2008? It's funny, but running build 7000, I can find ZERO references to the term "federated" anywhere. Does this mean MS has changed the name and just didn't update the OS?

You wont find any reference to "federated" inside Windows 7. Once you install the .osdx file (which is a opensearch definition file) in Windows 7, it gets added to your Searches and Favorites too. To open Searches, click Start Menu and type Searches.

I am really liking how Windows 7 is shaping up. I think this is what Vista should have been in the first place. Then the Wow! advertisements wouldn't have turned out to be so far from reality.

I have been playing with the 6xxx beta for a bit and now I'm even using the 7000 build as my main OS for a full week on a spare HDD I have for my laptop (special thanks for Mozy Backup for making this possible to do without stressing out about losing my work). So far it has been performing better than Vista SP1 even. The whole system seems much snappier overall (in some areas it seems much, much faster). So far it has been very stable except when it downloaded a pre-release NVidia driver from Windows Update which caused a few blue screens and some display corruption but that was promptly fixed by installing the latest 180 series drivers from (which even properly recognized it as Windows 7) and everything has been great since then. For anyone reading this with NVidia graphics card thinking of giving 7EVEN a spin, DO NOT DOWNLOAD the pre-release drivers on Windows Update dated from December, 2008. Download the latest Vista 32/64 drivers from and you will be golden (they have much more options in the control panel and seem to perform faster overall too).

Most of my systems have Nvidia graphics adapters and have not had the problems you describe with the latest WDDM 1.1 driver on WU.

That said, this is of course a very early Win7 driver, so it's not surprising that it has some compatibility problems for some people. Most people are better off with it though, as installing a Vista driver will negate some of the advancements Win7 can offer.

Hilarious that the screen cap shows a complaint about people copying FROM Neowin word for word!

What I see all too often is the exact opposite

Link please. When we copy from other sites, we source it. Completely legitimate. That's the purpose of Around The Web posts.

If you see copy and paste outside of Around The Web, I'd like to see it.

The "MSN Search" link doesn't work. Leads to a Twitter page.

Also, it's called "Live Search" now. Get with the times!

If they provide support for OpenSearch, then you can build search connectors very easily. The reason for not having a Google Search Connector is because they dont yet support OpenSearch. Have to check the same with Picasa.

You can also build your own feed consumer for picasa like what Long has done for Flickr

Awesome feature :)

Loving the DeviantArt Connector seems to be down so can't get the Flickr Connector yet.

Would it be possible to make a YouTube Connector that only searches for videos that are HD, and also have the option to download? That would be sweet

This is good and actually within the Blackcomb vision ages ago, or mmm, wherever that was. That Windows in some future would gain ability to do indexed searching from anywhere.

This really isn't that exceptional, there are many plugins that do it for you, Inquisitor, Keywurl (OSX) I'm sure Firefox has comparable plugins. Its nice for them to include it at a system level but its not groundbreaking like some of you seem to believe.

Considering the bulk of windows users don't know jack about customizing its good that they are finally including these from the beginning. Shame they can't include messenger, just a link to download it, what's up with that lol

Xero - this really is nothing like Inquisitor, Keywurl, or any browser plug-in.

This is richly integrated with the Windows Explorer shell and really designed around sources that return files. That means you get drag-and-drop, context-menus, previews, etc. You can search for documents in the Open File dialog, or search for images from within the existing Insert Picture dialog in apps like Word, because they use the Common File Dialog. Watch the Channel 9 video for more details:

Well then, touche I thought it was just a method of searching various sites without having to actually go to the site first.

skynetXrules said,
i dare osx to do that !

maybe when they release osx 10.12 lol

You underestimate Apple's photocopiers. They'll mash it up before Windows 7 release, patent it and talk about Microsoft stealing ideas from them.

RealFduch said,

You underestimate Apple's photocopiers. They'll mash it up before Windows 7 release, patent it and talk about Microsoft stealing ideas from them.

MS need more efficient software development then. Or be more secretive. This is of course as big problem for Apple as well. MS are no saints. For-profit companies are no saints.

creamhackered said,
This isn't news, it's part 1 of an overview of windows 7 features. Thanks for the blog spam though.

Didn't notice that part, but anytime Tom

Cool feature, but I have no need to search multiple computers or databases. I get by just fine with standard search engines. It's nice to know it's there if I need it though.