It’s taken a while, but Microsoft has finally unleashed the power of Windows 7’s search, releasing new files that allow you to search YouTube, Flicker, Wikipedia, Yahoo!, Bing and more, all from the comfort of your own desktop.
Windows 7 has been able to do this since it was first released, at least in theory. But first you had to track down an appropriate search connector, a file that told Windows how to communicate with the site of your choice. These haven’t always been easy to find, which makes the whole process much harder than it should be.
Now, though, Microsoft has released search connectors for each of the following sites.
- Bing Search Connector
- Bing News Search Connector
- Bing Image Search Connector
- Bing Local Search Connector
- Business Week Search Connector
- Encyclopaedia Britannica Search Connector
- Flickr Search Connector
- Google Blog Search Connector
- MSDN Search Connector
- TechNet Search Connector
- The Register Search Connector
- Wikipedia Search Connector
- Yahoo Search Connector
- Yahoo Images Search Connector
- YouTube Search Connector
To try a connector out on Windows 7, click one of the above links, locate the appropriate search connector (it’ll have a .OSDX extension) and click its Download button.
Open the file, and you should see a prompt asking whether you want to “add this search connector to Windows”.
Click Add, the website will immediately be added to your Searches folder, and the search window will open so you can try it right away.
Search Flickr for a keyword like “dolphins”, say, to see what comes up. But keep in mind that you’ll get different results according to your search view. If you’re solely looking for images, say, choose the “Extra large icons” view to get a decent preview image of each shot. Double-click anything that looks good and it’ll open in a browser window for further inspection.