A while back I noticed my posts getting visited by something called cuill and mistook it for a company that some friends are in the process of working up called...well, you'd best just wait for that exciting news. Anyway, it turned out not to be those folks but instead cuill (say it Cool!) is a search effort headed up by wife and husband team of Anna Patterson* and Tom Costello. Anna was someone senior with Google for while while Tom had his dalliance with IBM but they're running their own show now.
They got some 2nd round money recently and it would appear their key pitch is that their search takes 10% of the effort that it does for Google. I suspect the intent of something like cuill is to provide back-end search capability as a service to large corporate or governmental environments where the reduced overheard they speak of would really matter. I'm not sure the consumer end of search is all that bothered about the resources required when they are getting to have it for free.
Then I started to notice I was getting felt up as it were by another frequent visitor from Tempe, Arizona called searchme.com. I had a looksee and they're doing what I think are interesting things with the visual presentation of search results. Imagine if they had a client like this for the desktop we might be able to find some of those things we've lost on the harddrive. So it would seem that search isn't as static as some might think, and that old idea of some other new fangled interface for browsing or presenting content hasn't gone away either. There was a suggestion floated semi-seriously by some in the mid 90s that the Doom engine from ID could have been appropriated to give us that 3D world that Gibson et al had prepped us for. It never came to pass that I'm aware of in part because people thought that the footprint of the Doom client would be too large! Anyway, try the public Beta for size, it seemed to not be too keen on Firefox today but ran fine under IE and they have a blog too.
*I met Anna about.. Christ could it be that long ago?... 12 years ago now in Prague. She was at some maths conference and myself and a mate were in the city for sort of a lad's holiday. We were looking for an Irish pub that might have had the GAA results, net cafes being thin on the ground at the time. And we wandered into the James Joyce just of Staré Mesto, and we got chatting to her. I think one of us (probably me) made up some nonsense about working in the Oil industry mainly because we couldn't have looked more unlike some roughnecks in from the fields.