One novel approach to searching and data processing is called Wolfram|Alpha. It is not a search engine. Instead, it uses its own internal knowledge base to return answers to user questions. Their web site says t his about the project goals:
"We aim to collect and curate all objective data; implement every known model, method, and algorithm; and make it possible to compute whatever can be computed about anything. Our goal is to build on the achievements of science and other systematizations of knowledge to provide a single source that can be relied on by everyone for definitive answers to factual queries".
For example, typing in "birth rate Massachusetts" returns a results page that shows you a number of things. Firstly, it tells you that "Massachusetts annual births" was used instead of the literal query. Secondly, the results for the query are displayed in a demographics table. Options to display additional information are given as well; in this case, age and gender, ethnicity, and education information is available with the click of a button. The numbers are also converted into hourly, daily, weekly, and monthly birth rates. Lastly, it is possible to view thorough source information for these numbers, and download the data as a .pdf file.
Sounds like there are a lot of possibilities! Wolfram|Alpha is free for personal noncommercial use.