I'll admit I was excited when the Google API was made available for public use. Nice idea and opens up some cool new ways to integrate searching into your applications or websites. That is, as long as you don't exceed the allowable 1000 queries per day as per the developer license. It was easy enough to use but it was still not enough to get me that fired up about using it. I have that same excitement now about the MSN Search (beta) site. But this time things are different. There is no daily query limitation, there is not even an API. MSN Search allows you to take any query/search and get the results back as RSS/XML. Now we're talking!
Append the QueryString “format” parameter to specify that you want the results back in the form of RSS. For example, if I do an MSN search for “Ryan Farley”, I'll end up with the following:
Now, if I want that same search back as RSS/XML I simply add the format parameter to the query string as follows:
Not too shabby. But, where this starts to get really cool is how easy it is to seamlessly integrate searching into your own websites, and your users won't even know that MSN is being used for the searches. No redirects to some MSN Search page or anything. You just take the value that they are searching for, append your site URL to the search and then display the resulting RSS from the MSN Search however you want, on your own page, with your sites style. For example, if I wanted to search my blog for something like IDisposable - and get back the results as RSS/XML I would use the following:
If you wanted to make things really easy on yourself, you could use something like Scott Mitchell's RssFeed ASP.NET server control to easily display the returned RSS with no coding on your part. All you have to do is form the search query string and set it as the DataSource to the control and you've got instant searching for your site, all courtesy of the MSN Search.