There's little innovation in the way search results are presented: 10 links followed by some text excerpts. Of course, you can change the number of search results and sometimes view more information about a site, but that's all.
Some mostly unknown search engines like KartOO found different ways of displaying search results. For example, KartOO puts the results on an interactive map. The importance of a page is visually represented by the size of the associated icon and each page is connected to a list of keywords that help you refine your query.
Google felt it's time for a change and will add two new ways to visualize the results of a web search:
* on a timeline. View search results chronologically. Although Google doesn't have a way to determine the date when a web page was created, they can estimate it and offer timeline of the most relevant search results for a query, similar to Google News Archive.
* on a map. Google already associates some web pages with local businesses and shows information about the physical address of a business using a Plus Box. For some queries (like NY spa) there are a lot of local results that could be placed on a Google map, like in Google Base.
Google wants to change a lot of things in search this year by integrating specialized search results in the standard web search (Google Universal Search), using personalization to disambiguate queries, expanding the snippets and suggesting other useful specialized search engines in a completely new layout.
Update: The two new views are available at Google Labs.