Instant Messaging Conversation Search

Earlier I made a comment about Microsoft better integrating search capabilities into MS Office…..then I tried to search within a conversation I was having using Microsoft Office Communicator…..and guess what…you can’t!!! There are no search options built into the client!! At least not in the version that Microsoft uses for their internal installation.

So I thought about this for a minute and tried the same thing in a conversation I was having using MSN Messenger….and no luck there either! This was kind of a suprise to me (hence the blog entry)…..why in the world would there not be basic search of the text of a conversation…..from within the application where it occured?

Well there it is, the first place search could easily be added to the productivity/collaboration suite of products to make an impact. Now, I know Google doesn’t have it in their gmail integrated client.

But this may be one of those times to stop following Google and make a better user experience….a user should think…..”Ah, exactly what I wanted to do“………instead of…..”hmm, I don’t understand why the computer doesn’t just do what I want it to do“.

After more thought, I read Betsy Aoki‘s post on this exact topic (getting computer search to do what we want). I’m not sure I understand the logic, and perhaps thinking computers can’t “just do what the user wants it to” is why everyone in the Microsoft Search business is leaving with almost daily announcements? Betsy includes in her post….

“That’s why community features and approaches are so important. A search engine isn’t going to collate information from several web sites into a “how-to” because it’s never made bath fizzies/bombs before. A search engine hasn’t lived through the experience of where to put aging parents who can still get around but might fall down with no one to help. And even if the math is perfect, only so many answers fit on that first page, and there are many more types of people in the world who may disagree with the results.

That’s all true….but to start, I want to search the digital world where and how I want, I want the computer to return only the absolutely most relevant results (not just some of the relevant results)….Then I want to interact with my community with those results….

STOP focusing so much on minor improvements…..and focus on the customer (like Dorai’s list of Missing Search Functionality)…..not the competition!!

Besides if I am instant messaging my peers (through a community feature) and I can’t search the conversation….what good is the community feature in the first place!

Anyone know of a Messenger plugin that makes this happen (specifically in Office Communicator or MSN Messenger)?

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