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Get the search you want in IE7

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I guess people who worked for Microsoft a few years ago must have some idea what it's like to be Google right now. A huge market share means people want to criticize you, you seek solace by  watching your stock price, but that only makes you worry that the whole thing is built on sand and someone could sweep it away at any moment. 

few days ago,  I mentioned the search box in IE7, and it seems Google is worried about it (the search box, not my blog post.) And Robert Scoble points out that lots of people are blogging about that.

According to a piece in the New York Times,
Google, which only recently began beefing up its lobbying efforts in Washington, says it expressed concerns about competition in the Web search business in recent talks with the Justice Department and the European Commission, both of which have brought previous antitrust actions against Microsoft. 
You have to wonder if Google is aware of its the extent of its dominance in the web search business - because this would colour the views of the regulators. Since they are sponsoring the adoption of Firefox - which has search for highlighted text hard coded to Google - there are tough questions which they could be asked: one of the bloggers has a few And if Google's search is so good, another wonders what they are worrying about.
This complaint also says a lot about Google's confidence in its customer/brand loyalty -- if Google is worried about people dumping it for MSN Search because it's not worth the extra effort to click twice in IE7 to change the default search setting, perhaps Google fears it really does have a one-click brand loyalty problem

Maybe they've compared the Windows Live powered search on A9.Com  and think that (unlike today's MSN search) no-one will switch to them from the new search…. Whatever, the IE team have been at pains to point out that "the search box in IE7 is not Microsoft’s. It belongs to the user". The search box is managed with   Opensearch XML descriptions of how search engines accept queries: here's an example.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" ?> 
<OpenSearchDescription xmlns=http://a9.com/-/spec/opensearch/1.1/">
<ShortName>Google</ShortName>
<Description>Google Web Search</Description>
<Url type="text/html"
template="http://www.google.com/search?q={searchTerms}
&rls=com.microsoft:{language}
&ie={inputEncoding}&oe={outputEncoding}
&startIndex={startIndex?}&startPage={startPage}" />
</OpenSearchDescription>
Once this is in an XML file it's easy to add the search engine to list on the toolbar. Here's the code
<a Href="#" onClick="window.external.AddSearchProvider(&quot;URL of XML file &quot;);">
Click to here add our search
</a>
Click to enlarge Here are the clicks to open the Microsoft providers library and make Google your default search engine.
(I copied XML and the code from there).

Google could put this on their home page in 5 minutes flat. 
 
But there is a second thing which OpenSearch enables, which I found in Erik Porter's blog : If you put a link tag into a page  - like you would for a style sheet, icon, or RSS feed - then you can have a page specific search. Instead of users hunting for "search this site", it's on the same pull down as search this page and search the web. Wouldn't it be great of users had a consistent way to find a site's search ? Of course some people would be bound to complain about that too.

Comments
  • So, last week I was talking about &quot;getting the search you want&quot; this morning I was looking for some information...

  • You might be interested in www.OpenSearchList.com which keeps a list of OpenSearch providers.  It's also very easy to add your own search; even customize searches that you do a lot.  

  • I've been meaning to have a play with Search Server since Viral demo'd it on the last roadshow. We have

  • I was a little surprised to find it was nearly 3 years ago that I first wrote about Open Search… So First

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