Whoooop Whooop, it's here!!
A feature many of us waited for and we're looking forward to turning this on but, I must admit I have mixed feelings about it.
Maybe it's cultural to have these concerns but privacy is a big thing. I wonder about the usability of how the feature is currently designed, being part of Search.
I guess, I was expecting Private message search to be part of the Private Messages area, not the overall search. I invisioned when in my private message page, to have a little search box there that searches, well, my private messages. I think making this part of the search box might be confusing for users (Who's private messages is this thing searching, I better not use it)
I thought it would be great to enable this only for certain roles and it would be great for this to be its own little search in the Private Message area. I also thought it'd be great if it would be clear that it also searches into the sent messages. It's not quite obvious in the results (as I had no PMs in my inbox yet I was getting a search result and I had no frikkin' idea where it came from :-)
Is this a topic for ideas, maybe yes, I think so, I am actually quite sure it should be so that's a next step.
I guess I was posting here to see if anyone else had find ways to customize this a little?
There is an alternative solution that I've played around with in our staging environment that might work a little better. It does require a little tweaking to make it look good however @PerBonomi provided an example of a solution last summer over at http://community.lithium.com/t5/Developers-Discussion/Search-your-PMs/m-p/159558#M6338 which may help.
You could wrap the custom component in FreeMarker logic to restrict it to certain user roles within the community. One of the things I like about it is that results appear in-line on the private message page, this example is limited to searching on the sender field however I'm sure with a bit of tinkering it could be expanded to subject/body of the message as well.
In the example that was posted by @PerBonomi the component searches for PM's from a specific user and gives date range filtering options, there's nothing to say with a little modification though that it couldn't also search for keywords in the subject/body of PM's