From Mashable's 16 Awesome Data Visualization Tools, I have picked my favourites:
Walk2Web, Quintura and especially Kartoo look like they have taken visualised search to levels that I will now find genuinely useful in my professional life. In each case the interface will take a bit of getting used to, so I'd expect to be using them as accessories to our existing methods, for the time being at least.
They will certainly help us to quickly grasp the nature and extent of the connections between the topics (and the websites) that are the subjects of our search asignments. They are bound to be a source of 'free' ideas too.
Fidg't's Visualizer can also provide handy insights into how online social ties are reflected in user-generated content production and consumption behaviours.