Federated Search is one of the most useful and interesting additions to MOSS 2007 since it was launched. It’s now been announced for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2.
Federated Search was integrated into MOSS 2007 with the post-SP1 Infrastructure Update, which effectively brought the Search Server 2008 product to the MOSS 2007 platform. Federated Search will pass a query from a single interface to multiple OpenSearch-compatible indices. It will then render matching results from these indices asynchronously as they return. In MOSS 2007 a federated search web part is added to a search results page and each web part renders only if results are found through that Search Connector. This works brilliantly, as local results will typically return first, then remote sources will render in due course.
This functionality has now been added to Windows Search. I think this is a fantastic move, as these choices will often be very preferential. I may want Wikipedia while you will want Britannica. I may roam among three branch offices and need to query each of the regional SharePoint portals. It’s very powerful stuff – especially when it moves to the client and can be configured to individual needs.
Find more Search Connectors on the Enterprise Search site. Read the Windows 7 Federated Search Provider Implementer’s Guide.