I wanted to mention a new feature we introduced with the Windows Live Search release the other day, called Search Macros. Search Macros allow you to build and share search modifiers that can help someone else when they want to do a specialized or targeted search. The modifiers can be any set of keywords or advanced search operators. In some sense, they let you build your own targeted search engine. The consumers of a macro can ‘install’ it on their Live Search scope bars, alongside the default scopes like Web, Images and News, and use it as often as they want.
You can try an early version of the feature today at http://www.live.com. Currently, you can chose and install from an existing set of macros, but very soon, we will add the ability to create your own. The list of macros we have today is at: http://microsoftgadgets.com/Macros.
Here is one example where macros can come handy. Let’s say you are a Computer Science researcher and want to find some publications related to Bayesian networks. A vanilla search will give you a lot of results you don’t care about in this context. For a better experience, you may want to use the livesearch.csresearch macro: http://www.live.com/#q=macro%3Alivesearch.csresearch%20bayesian%20networks&offset=1
On the other hand, if you want to find out what a Bayesian network is, you may want to use the livesearch.reference macro: http://www.live.com/#q=bayesian%20networks%20macro%3Alivesearch.reference&offset=1.
Note that in each case, you didn’t have to know what modifiers give best results. Someone else who is an expert searcher shared their knowledge with you in a simple way.
If you like a macro, just install it on the scope bar for future use!