Here is an interesting article on the year in review for search engines. 2004 saw many major players (Yahoo, Google, and MSN in particular) kick their competition up a notch by trying to differentiate themselves from the pack. Will more of the same happen in 2005? Tara Calishain at Research Buzz thinks 2005 will be even crazier in the search world:

The Microsoft hat is officially in the ring for better or for worse, RSS is now a fixture and only one big search engine (Yahoo) is doing anything about it, multimedia search will become somewhat more important, and government and institutional sites are putting ever-more-impressive data collections online, and nobody’s harnessing those. I think 2005 is also the year that an “unknown” search engine comes out of nowhere and gets regularly mentioned beside Google, Yahoo, etc.
My guesses: Feedster, Gigablast, or Vivisimo.

And speaking of Vivisimo, their CEO, Raul Valdes-Perez wrote an interesting article about the inherent problems associated with search personalization and explains why clustering may just be the solution we all have been looking for. I didn’t know much about Vivisimo prior to reading this article, but it has inspired me to keep an eye on them.