I have been really interested in multidimensional search results for a while. They are sites that start off like a normal search engine by take a single search term but return results in multiple forms (text, photos, videos, maps, blogs, etc.) from multiple sources on one page. Google has just launched WDYL.com which uses this multidimensional search concept. It asks you the simple question of “What do you love?” and the one page search results show pictures, alerts, patents, videos, statistics, books, translations, 3D SketchUp, latest news, blog searches, locations, group discussions etc. all pull from Google content sources of the thing you love.
I think you will continue see multidimensional search results grow in popularity until we hit a tipping point and one of the main stream search engines adopts it is their search result format. Yahoo! would be the closest since you can get a similar effect after doing a search when you can click the different mediums like photos, videos, shopping and news that appear above the search box and the results will change to the corresponding medium.
My favorite site to tackle the problem is still Addict-o-matic which I first wrote about two years ago and I like to more than WDYL.com for two reasons. The first is that I can customize the sources the site uses to return results which makes a huge difference in personalization and the quality of the search when you are dealing with so much data. The second is that I can browse broad news categories like politics, food or gadgets and the results are drawn from predetermined sources that are the most relevant for that subject.
In both cases I really like that they are challenging the traditional convention of search results because online content is much more diverse and much richer than it used to be and as a result people aren’t just looking for text links when they do a search.