Tafiti is a new experimental search site from Microsoft. It has rich visualizations and aims to meet the needs of people doing research on the Web. Tafiti runs on the Silverlight browser plug-in platform (Microsoft's answer to Adobe's Flash) and requires you to install Silverlight if you haven't already. The underlying search engine is MicrosoftÄôs Live Search.
AltSearchEngines editor Charles Knight has an overview of Tafiti. I checked it out too and found it to be an interesting visual experiment, along the lines of other visual search interfaces like Ms. Dewey (a Flash-based talking search engine developed by Microsoft). Microsoft knows that it needs to innovate in search to have any chance of making inroads into Google, so this is another experiment along those lines. Indeed the latest Hitwise stats show Microsoft falling even more behind Google and Yahoo:
Tafiti won't ever be a mainstream search engine, because ultimately speed and efficiency are what most punters want in a search engine - and Google continues to deliver on those things. However I can see Tafiti becoming a nice niche search engine for researchers, given more iterations. It may well contribute some technology to a future version of Live Search too.