Out on the web there are a large number of small search engines that try to stand out and maybe take some of the market shares from Google. Many of them have interesting search features.
I would like to introduce some of them in order to help other realize that search can (and should) be a bit more then a search bar and a list of hits. A number of these alternative search engines have focused on the visual presentation of the search result in interesting ways. For example the search engine quintura uses tag clouds of related terms and concepts to the original query.
A slightly different approach has been taken by mnemomap and webbrain that presents related concepts in a graph instead. The other part is to visually show the divisions of the search results into different categories so they can easily be navigated through but also to give a quick overview of the subject, examples of that can be seen at e.g. mooter and kooltorch. Finally I would also like to mention kartOO that have, in my opinion, gone one step further and even presents the links to the search results with images and icons.
In conclusion one can say that the ability to graphically visualize the search result so that it is possible to get a quick overview of a particular subject can prove to be a very important feature in future search solutions. It would not only help users find what they want to know, but also help them get a better and wider understanding of a particular subject, without forcing them to read through a large chunk of (hopefully) relevant text.
The search result and related concepts can be presented graphically instead. That will also take advantage of the fact that people can take in a lot more information through an image then by reading text. Further it can help the user to easily see if he or she is on the right track and make possible refinements to the query even before any returned document has been read through, thus saving valuable time, which today is more important then ever.