A new thread at Cre8asite Forums named The Future of Results Pages? touches on the topic of whether or not we will be locked into the current way the search engines display the results on a page. The thread points to a blog entry named Innovations in Search Results Pages, where he asked the question "what makes it the right interface solve for displaying search results"? He asked this to a nice group of panelist, Peter Norvig, Google; Mark Fletcher, Ask Jeeves; Udi Manber, A9; Ken Norton, Yahoo!; Jakob Nielsen, NN Group (very interesting read).
The notion that the way we read search results may lock us into this way rather than a new way is complete rubbish. Comparing it to a Qwerty/Dvorak or (as the article did) Imperial/Metric Systems analogy just doesn't work either.
In essence, the danger we have of getting locked into the current means of reading search results is akin to the act of telling me that I have but one choice - drive my car all the time, or drive my moped all the time, but I don't have the option of choosing the best (easiest, most efficient, most productive) one for the particular task I have at hand.
Gem of a thread.