I know a lot of people have been waiting for this, and for good reason. I suspect there is a huge opportunity for adding significant benefit to existing (and new) SharePoint Portal implementations by designing your own customised search front-ends
and the best bit is that it’s really not that hard, especially with this syntax guide.
As has been discovered on the internet (some made the discovery earlier that others <sly grin>), no matter how well organised your content is (think Yahoo) finding what you are looking for mostly just comes down to Search (MSN Search, ok, and Google). In the same way, no matter how well designed your area (or topic) hierarchy is in SharePoint, people are still just going to want to do a search.
While the search technology in SharePoint is great, I don’t think that “out of the box” we have truly done it justice, we have really only scratched the surface.
Some ideas I have been thinking about are:
1. Trapping user search terms and then automatically feeding them into SharePoints “Best Bet” feature (this is a simple but powerful feature I haven’t seen many customers take advantage of as yet) for a “librarian” type to approve.
2. Web part that automatically feeds in “context sensitive” terms to a SharePoint search query, thereby displaying information relevant to what you are doing right now. Think the “My Recent Documents” web part. If you are on an area called Annual Leave why not have the search results for that term already displayed on the page, the more specific the query the more useful this would be.
3. Better partitioning of information. While scopes are a good start, you really want to be able to partition the information in your organisation in a much more granular way. For example being able to implement “Search This Site” functionality.
Keen to hear from you if you are working on any of these, or if you have other ideas.