I don't buy the idea that we should all strive toward a single box.
I really don't. Maybe as a starting place in some cases or when looking for a known item... but 1) the user frequently doesn't really know what they need 2) relevance is dynamic and situational -- everything you read adds to your state of knowledge and changes what you will consider relevant 3) people like to browse classifications -- like when clothes shopping -- to have some serendipitous finds... and because they use online references as analogs to the print counterparts with which they have extensive experience.
We keep going back and forth with crowded vs. bare front pages with both sides saying their way is the only way. Granted, much of the discussion is really on the presentation of search results, but shouldn't some samples be available on the front page so you at least know you're in the right place? If EddieBauer.com looks just like PGCMLS.info which looks just like umd.edu... well, that's not where we want to be, is it? Can
Google provide access to all the world's information?