When the search runs into a java.net.SocketTimeoutException, there's no message to the user about the problem
There is no such exception with ElasticSearch in 7.1.7 as we don't use SOAP / HTTP connect / service anymore.
Which of these have been done? Which are addressed by v7.1.8 Elastic Search?
Elastic Search was introduced in Pega 7.1.7 to provide automatic fail over for full text search which was not feasible with Lucene. What Mike has suggested are usability enhancements to search as a feature in the core product. All those features are in the pipeline. I will pass on your feedback to product management so that they are aware of this.
Finally, the Lucene syntax does work (like described in the document by Mike Degatano) even with Elastic Search.