On the importance of OpenSearch
I'm a big fan of Open Search, the idea, the format, and the user experience it can enable. You start typing a domain you've hit before that you want to search within. When it starts autocompleting, you hit tab, and then type your search.
So, "stacko - TAB - json - ENTER" has me searching StackOverflow for json results. I don't have to google/bing and then add "site:stackoverflow.com" to my query. I don't have to hit the home page then look around for a search box. The site just includes a meta tag and an opensearch.xml file and poof, the site has taught my browser how to search. Once you've tried this, you'll find it hard to browse/search without. You'll prefer sites that include it and be frustrated with sites that don't. (More on that later.)
IMPORTANT UPDATE/NOTE: A buddy of mine points this out, and he's right. That said, I want to say that I like BOTH of them, and I'm very much enamored with the Tab Search feature.
"Just to be clear, these things are not the same thing.
OpenSearch is a format for specifying how to search a site. Tab Search is a particular UX for allowing you to do a search on a non-default search provider. It happens to use OpenSearch to learn how to search different search providers."
I setup OpenSearch at Hanselman.com back in 2009!
Chrome has a great implementation of Open Search.
I just added a one line META tag and a static XML file. Boom.
Your static XML file describes what the resulting URL should look like. Here's a small example.
Search Scott Hanselman's Blog
This is such a clean and obvious user story. It makes your web browsing experience better.
User wants to easily search within a site they visit often. Every browser and OS should support OpenSearch.
Amazon used to support it but in the last year or so removed it in a homepage redesign. It's more than a little ironic that it was a9.com and Amazon.com that came up with OpenSearch and actually host the http://opensearch.org websites, but now the Amazon.com home page doesn't support it.
If you work for Amazon and are reading this blog post, consider this your calling out. Please put OpenSearch back on Amazon.com.
Dear Reader, take a minute and see if your favorite browser supports OpenSearch. If it does, try it out. If not, ask them for it. Same for your favorite sites. If you run a site, you can easily add OpenSearch in a few minutes.