The future of Google?
I wrote this post a while back. The content can still be relevant but the information I've linked to may no longer be available.
Searchmash is a low-profile site by Google. It's a search engine with some different features and I'd speculate that some of these may make it into Google itself in the future You might call it Google's test area, perhaps?
The search input box is even more minimal than Google. There's no Search button, just type your query and hit Return or Enter to do the search.
Now, the search results. The first thing to notice is that any search gives all the results on the same page. Instead of using multiple pages, there is a 'more results' link that displays more results on the same page. There is also a 'hide details' link at the top of the search results that enables you to abbreviate the search results so that only the page titles and the parent URLs are shown.
Secondly, on the right of the page are links to the same search results in Images, Blogs, Video and in Wikipedia. For example, clicking on Blogs shows results from blogs (no surprise there, then). It may seem obvious, but I like the approach where all results are accessed from the same page, rather than a tab/link to another page. In my test searches, I found more relevant results using this method.
There's also a feedback mechanism (were these results useful?) in the right column.
It will be interesting to see how Searchmash develops. However, another potential advantage (at the moment) is the absence of sponsored links!