Note that if you installed SearchTogether before March 17, 2009, you will need to uninstall it and reinstall the latest version (1.2), as the old version no longer works due to changes in underlying APIs.
Note that you will need Internet Explorer 7, as some of SearchTogether's features use tabs: you can download IE7 here if you don't already have it.
Select "Sign In" from the Connect menu on the SearchTogether sidebar. If you do not see the SearchTogether sidebar, follow the instructions in Restarting SearchTogether.
Note: In the rare event that you receive an error message before you've had the opportunity to enter your id and password, install this supplemental library and then restart IE.
SearchTogether will prompt you to log in, using your Windows Live ID. If you don't have one, you can quickly create a Windows Live ID here.
You can then fill out your SearchTogether profile by entering a nickname, uploading a photo, and selecting your preferred search engine.
In SearchTogether, a session represents a particular group of people investigating a particular topic. You can belong to several different sessions: for example, Lucy might belong to a "Hybrid Cars" session to investigate a car purchase with her husband, Bob, a "Vegas Trip" session to plan an upcoming spa trip with her friends Anna and Luisa, and a "Diabetes Recipes" trip to help her mother, Rebecca, find low-sugar cooking tips.
Although you can belong to several sessions, only one session can be active at any particular time.
To create a new session, go to the "Action" menu and choose "Create New Search Session". A dialog box will appear, allowing you to name the session and choose people to invite to join the session. You can invite anyone who is a member of your Live Messenger buddy list. If you update your buddy list, you can choose the "Refresh Contacts" option from the "Action" menu, and your new buddies will be available to invite, as well.
When you create a session, the buddies you invited will receive an email notifying them about the new SearchTogether session. You and all of your invitees will now see the new session's name among the list in the "Join a search session" drop down menu.
To join an existing session, select the session's name from the "Join a search session" drop down menu located next to your photo. The "Contacts" pane will update to show the photos and nicknames of the session's other members, highlighted in green if they are currently logged into the session or in gray otherwise.
Joining a session also populates the query history, summary pane, and chat window with the most up-to-date information for that session, including any new content added by other session members since your last login.
You can switch sessions at any time by choosing a new session from the drop-down menu.
You can also add additional users to an existing session by choosing the "Add Users to Current Session" option from the "Action" menu (note that only the
person who created a session has permission to invite additional members).
SearchTogether offers three ways to search the web: standard, split, and multi-engine searches.
A standard search is the default.
To perform a standard search, enter your query keywords into the search box and hit "Enter" or click the magnifying glass icon.
The query will be processed by your default search engine, and the results will be displayed in your browser.
Note that other members of your session will not automatically be shown your search results,
although they will see the keywords you used appear in your query history.
To change your default search engine, click on the drop-down list next to the magnifying glass icon.
Note that you can also conduct standard searches through Live's, Yahoo!'s, or Google's webpages,
rather than through SearchTogether's searchbox, and those searches will still be captured by SearchTogether's query history.
A split search is a new, collaborative searching feature offered by SearchTogether.
You can perform a split search when at least one other group member belongs to a session.
To perform a split search, select the drop-down list next to the magnifying glass icon and choose the "Split" option.
The magnifying glass icon will change to one with a slash through it to remind you that you are in split search mode.
Then, type your query keywords into the search box and hit "enter" or click the special magnifying glass icon.
The query you have entered is sent to your Live Search, but the top 50 search results are split amongst all of the session members, round-robin fashion.
Your portion of the results will appear in your browser, and the other session members will see the split search appear, highlighted, in their own query history; this highlighting signals to them
that they have received a new split search, and should click the history item to see their portion of the results.
A multi-engine search is another type of collaborative search method that SearchTogether provides.
You can perform a multi-engine search when at least one other group member is logged into your session.
To perform a multi-engine search, select the drop-down list next to the magifying glass icon and choose the "Multi-Engine" option.
The magnifying glass icon will change to a double magnifying glass to remind you that you are in multi-engine search mode.
Then, type your query keywords into the serach box and hit "enter" or click the special magnifying glass icon.
A dialog box will appear allowing you to assign a search engine to each of the online session members.
After you configure and accept this dialog, the query you entered will be sent to each of the search engines you specified.
Your results will appear in your browser,
and each of the other online session members will receive a new query history entry, highlighted, to indicate that they have received a
multi-engine search. They can click on the item in the history to see their portion of the search results.
The group query history for a session is displayed in the "Contacts" pane: underneath each session member's photo is a list of all of the queries they have done
when logged into that session.
More recent queries appear at the top, leftmost portion of each list. A small icon next to each history item indicates whether the query was part of a standard search (magnifying glass icon), split search (split magnifying glass icon), or multi-engine search (double magnifying glass icon).
The query histories are interactive - double-clicking any item from your own or others' histories loads the associated search results page, from the search engine originally used for that query, into your browser.
You can associate ratings and comments with a webpage as a way to communicate your opinions to other group members.
To rate or comment on the page currently visible in your browser, you can use the icons located at the bottom of the "Contacts" pane:
"thumbs up" for a positive rating, "thumbs down" for a negative rating, and the pushpin icon to enter a textual comment with no rating attached.
A combined comment + rating can be added by entering a comment into the textbox and then hitting either the "thumbs up" or "thumbs down" icon, rather then hitting the pushpin icon.
Associating a rating and/or comment with a webpage adds the page to the session summary.
Clicking the "Summary" tab replaces the "Contacts" pane with the session summary.
The summary is a list of all pages that have been annotated (rated or commented on) by anyone in the group.
Each entry displays a page's title and url, and then shows the photos of each session member who annotated that page, along with their rating and/or comment.
Each item in the summary is interactive - clicking it will load that page in your browser.
You can also email a copy of the summary to yourself, other session members, or anyone else you'd like to share it with, by choosing the "Email Summary" option from the "Action" menu and specifying the recipients in the dialogue box that appears.
Note that the "email summary" feature currently only works if you are running Outlook on your computer.
SearchTogether offers peek-and-follow browsing as a lightweight collaboration and awareness mechanism.
In order to allow other members of a session to peek or follow your browser, you must go to the "Action" menu and choose "Allow Peek / Follow".
You will only be able to peek or follow other session members who have enabled this feature via the "Action" menu.
Peeking at another session member loads the page that person is currently viewing into your browser.
To peek, click on the "eyeglasses" icon next to the photo of the person you wish to follow.
If that person has not enabled peeking and following from the "Action" menu, then the icon will not be clickable.
Following another session member loads the page that person is currently viewing into your browser.
Your browser will continue to update and load new pages every time the person you are following views a new page (whether by clicking a link, doing a search, or typing in a URL directly).
To follow, click on the "footprints" icon next to the photo of the person you wish to follow.
To stop following, click the "footprints" icon a second time.
If you have enabled peek / follow, you can still disable it at any time by deselecting it from the "Action" menu.
The effects will be immediate - anyone currently following you will automatically have their follow action cancelled.
SearchTogether includes a session-specific chat window, along the bottom edge of the browser, where all session members can send and receive instant messages.
To send an instant message, type your message into the textbox at the bottom of the chat window, and hit "enter" or click the "Send" button. Your message will then appear in the chat window.
Other session members who are logged in will hear a sound and see your chat message appear.
Members who are offline will be able to read your message the next time they log into the session, since chat transcripts persist as a way to help the group remember the
context associated with a search session and to facilitate asynchronous communication.
You can exit the SearchTogether application by choosing the "Sign Out" option from the "Connect" menu (which will log you out but leave the SearchTogether sidebar open in your browser),
or simply by clicking the "X" in the upper-right hand corner of the main SearchTogether sidebar (which will log you out and hide the SearchTogether sidebar).
To restart SearchTogether, open Internet Explorer. If the SearchTogether sidebar is visible, choose "Sign In" from the Connect menu.
Note for internal release: We are aware that the sign in window erroneously states "not a Microsoft developed application" - this will be corrected before external release!
If SearchTogether is not visible, you can launch it by pressing "Alt + V" in order to open IE's "View" menu.
Then choose "Explorer Bar" and then choose "SearchTogether".