CNET News.com has introduced a visual tool THE BIG PICTURE for news search. Here's straight from the source:
The Big Picture is a CNET News.com special feature. It creates visual maps that show relationships between stories, companies, and topics within the News.com site.
*How it works* For every story published, News.com editors and reporters included relevant links to other News.com stories. In addition, News.com highlights the important companies that appear in a story as well as attach appropriate topics to each story.
Each story has a visual map which shows related stories, topics, or news from the same company. Stories on the map are represented with "bubbles" - the more popular a story, the larger the bubble.
It's an interesting feature - and a vast improvement over the textual tag cloud which is currently a popular method of displaying data by importance. Tag clouds, however, miss the "relationship" element and don't show how stories connect to one another - which is the beauty of THE BIG PICTURE tool.
I have loved it!