As mentioned in the first post on this topic, the Internet Explorer 8 as of Beta 2 Smart Address Bar works better with Windows Search installed. However, IE8 does not require Windows Search, and IE8 will still provide a superior experience to IE7 if it’s not there. We are going to go through and detail the differences between IE8 with and without Windows Search so people can understand the trade-offs.
To start with, we made a choice to use Windows Search as our index & query engine when we began work on IE8 almost two years ago. We could have written our own engine, or we could have used a different engine, but it came down to a simple realization: we have a team of people here at Microsoft who are dedicated to creating a great search & indexing experience, and it’s called the Windows Search team (formerly known as “Windows Desktop Search.” And to avoid any confusion, we’re talking about the local search index team, not the folks who run live.com – those are separate organizations). The people on that team are experts at what they do, and by leveraging their technology, we get the benefit of all of their hard work and expertise. We consider the folks on the Windows Search part of the extended IE team (the same way you can consider, say, the folks on the networking team, who write TCP/IP for Windows, as part of the IE family).