TechCrunch, the bay areas favourite breakfast cereal, posted recently about Powerset, the current iteration of their system and some of their short term plans. I signed up early as a Powerlabs user but hadn't been back to the site for a while - TechCrunch's post motivated me to check in.
There are basically two areas where we can expect search engines to innovate: the back end - creating new and better ways to analyse web content, improving ranking and relevance etc., and the front end - going beyond the vanilla text box interaction to something that allows for more intimate interactions with the data. What I see as being fascinating about where Powerset has ended up is that they have explored both areas in a way that has resulted in a very compeling new experience.
The most visible proposition coming from Powerset is the leverage of NLP to improve the search experience. From this, one assumes the use of NLP to better interpret the textual content found online combined with the ability to interpret queries. However, by innovating in the user experience space in a way that integrates NLP analytics with the result set, they have found their sweetspot.
Update: see this Venture Beat article for a similar angle.