Shirl Kennedy and Gary Price gush about the launch of Google Scholar, a version of Google focusing on scholarly sources.
Using it a bit, it is very cool. It seems similar to Citeseer. If you haven't tried Citeseer, you should. Among other great features, Citeseer links academic articles by citations and similarity. The new Google Scholar also has a feature to show all article citations. Nice.
You know, Citeseer was created by NEC Labs. One of the authors was Steve Lawrence. Steve Lawrence is now at Google. Hmm...
See also David Krane's post and the New York Times article on Google Scholar.
Update: John Battelle says Google Scholar was built by Anurag Acharya, a former UCSB professor and now a principal engineer at Google. Here's Anurag's old home page and a brief bio from a UW talk he gave back in February 2003.
Update: Danny Sullivan also has a good post on Google Scholar.
Update: Anurag Acharya announces Google Scholar on the Google blog.
Update: 1.5 years later, Microsoft launches Windows Live Academic Search. Apparently, another creator of Citeseer, Lee Giles, was involved with Microsoft's effort.
In my usage, I found myself agreeing with Dare that the breadth of Windows Live Academic is too weak to be competitive. I also found the lack of advanced search annoying.