Well Microsoft has done a general release of Live Search, Live.com, and Live Local Search, and the consensus seems to be that the thinking is rolling right along Google lines.
Business Week comments on the customization features.
Users can create tabs to homepages featuring a variety of self-selected information. Links can either be chosen from a menu of news sites and blogs compiled by Microsoft or favorites compiled by users while conducting searches.
I’ve used the services slightly this afternoon and can report that the image search tool appears to exceed Google’s in useful results – unscientifically, I searched slaw.ca on both engines