Build Your Own Search Engine

Ever wanted to create your own search engine?  Or use a search engine that’s tailored to the specific topic you’re interested in?  Last Friday we released a new Live Search feature called Search Macros that enables you to do this!

What are Search Macros?
Search Macros are a feature of Live Search that make results more relevant for a given search topic.  This is done by easily using, creating and sharing customized sets of search engine rules.

Technically speaking, a Search Macros are custom, user-created groups of search operators built with the Live Search query language (see ‘Symbol reference’ and ‘Keyword reference’ in our help section). Macros are stored on our servers and are available to any user on live.com.  All macros can be used by anyone completely anonymously.

How do I use them?
There are two main ways to use macros:
A. Try an existing macro
B. Create and share your own

I’ll cover both below:

A. Try an existing macro
Let’s say you’re looking for a macaroni and cheese recipe.  The top search results for ‘macaroni and cheese’ are from macaroni and cheese makers.  Good results, but not the recipes you’re looking for.

Now let’s try the same query with a macro called livesearch.recipes.  This time the top results are all recipes—the macaroni and cheese maker pages are no longer there.  This is definitely content that is more relevant for my recipe search.  

You can easily save this macro clicking on livesearch.recipes in the yellow “Click to install” box. 

 Your macro will be added to the search bar at the top of the page (we call this the scope bar).  You can now easily switch back and forth from it to Web, News and all of the other scopes.

 If you look for recipes often, using a macro that returns great results for recipe searches is helpful…being able to put that macro your scope bar so it’s 1 click away is awesome!

So far there are over 60 macros shared on MicrosoftGadgets.com. You can install any macro there by clicking on it and then on the +Live.com icon.

B. Create your own macro
To create a macro click “Create Macros” in the dropdown menu on the far right side of the scope bar.  (You’ll need to be signed in with your Passport.  You‘ll automatically be asked to sign in if you aren’t already.)

1. Pick a namespace
The first time you create a macro you will see the namespace creation screen.  You only get one macro namespace and it will be tied to your Passport.  Your namespace will be in the name of all macros you create.
 

For example, “livesearch” is the namespace and “recipes” is the name of the macro.  Pick your namespace carefully as we don’t plan on allowing you to change it!  It’s also important to note that we do not associate macro searches with your Passport.

2. Make a macro
Next is the macro creation screen. Macros have several components: a name, the default scope (Web results vs. News results), a description and a definition.  The definition is where you define the advanced operators for your macro. For example, livesearch.recipes that we’ve been talking about has the following definition:

 (-site:toeatgoodfood.com -linkdomain:googlesyndication.com intitle:recipe prefer:cup prefer:serve prefer:cook prefer:food prefer:menu prefer:cookbook prefer:site:www.epicurious.com prefer:site:www.recipesource.com prefer:site:allrecipes.com prefer:site:www.foodtv.com prefer:site:www.recipesource.com)

It uses the following operators to find good recipe sites:

site: restrict results to a single domain
prefer: reorder the results preferring this term
linkdomain: finds results that link to a page on a domain
“-” exclude pages that meet this criteria

The Search Macros team will posting more in the near future. In the meantime, feel free to give macros a try, claim your namespace and let us know what you think…

Zachary Gutt
Program Manager
Windows Live Search Macros