I am guessing there will be some people who will get on me about "turning my life over to Google" or something, but I wanted to share something I'm now using here with my TypePad space -- Google Custom Search. Yesterday I lamented the lack of an internal search widget, something I had taken for granted with my self hosted WordPress blog. I used it to search my own work quite a bit. I was nervous as I couldn't for the life of me figure out how to add a good internal search widget here. I ended up taking matters into my own hands and added a simple Google Custom Search box to the sidebar.
I installed it yesterday and already the results are getting better. It was really simple to create and embedded with a simple code snippet. I haven't taken the time to style it to match the current theme here, but will when I have a moment or two. You can test it for yourself in the sidebar or go create your own.
There are a couple of things I find interesting about the potential for this service. But the most important one to me is that it is external to the structure of this space. In other words, it is portable enough that I can embed this search in other places that people may discover my content. I am thinking about installing it at my PSU Blog space so I can run searches of my content without having to jump into my TypePad blog. I could drop it anywhere -- even create several and place on a dashboard page that I could use to search across dozens of domains. That would be extremely helpful if I wanted to set up a powerful project management space or a killer content aggregator for a course. I wonder if having externalized search makes as much sense as it appears to me on first blush?