Chris Sherman and Gary Price report that AOL will be rolling out several improvements to AOL web search next week.
Clustering using Vivisimo will be one of the major new features. If you haven't tried Vivisimo's clustering, you should. It's quite good. This move by AOL is pretty interesting, the first of the big search engines to do clustered search results.
AOL apparently will also go out the door with "Smartbox", a query refinement tool that sounds similar to Google Suggest. AOL will also be the first here, the first big search engine to put query refinement suggestions on their live site (Google Suggest is still in the labs).
They'll also have saved web search queries (like A9, My Ask Jeeves, My Yahoo Search, and even good old Findory) and, later, will launch a new desktop search product (like Yahoo, Google, MSN, and Ask Jeeves).
AOL web search, like A9, is just a thin layer on over Google. It's all Google search underneath. It's an interesting strategy. Yahoo and Microsoft are doing their own crawl and indexing. A9 and AOL are skipping that costly step and trying to find ways to add value on top of Google search results.
Update: John Battelle posts a good analysis, including some thoughts on how AOL is giving up its "walled garden" and opening its content to everyone.
Update: The new AOL Search is now live.