I was reading Dan Holmes' SharePoint Newsletter today and he talked about his observations in regards to SharePoint Search v1, v2, and v3.  Did you realize there were 3 versions of SharePoint Search being discussed now?  2 are released, and the third will be in Office 14.  How did the second version get released if we still only have MOSS 2007 and, someday, Office 14?  I thought he said it pretty well, so I'm including a portion below.  You can read more of Dan's articles on http://www.officesharepointpro.com.

Search: a Case Study of Innovation and Delivery

Last week I reviewed the success of SharePoint search, but I'm going to return to it for a moment. Talk about rapid innovation! We're going to devour what they've got cookin' in vNext. There's no doubt that the investments that Microsoft is making in search to take on Google are paying off in a big way for enterprise search.

I had not stopped to consider that Search Server 2008 is really "version 2.0" of MOSS Search. That means that Search got a "new version" just 18 months after the release of the "first version" (MOSS). It introduced new capabilities and did a lot of back-end optimization. Microsoft will be releasing an update for MOSS to bring its functionality up to the same level later this year, and the upgrade will be seamless. SharePoint 14 will therefore be "version 3.0" of MOSS Search, will introduce important new capabilities, and the upgrade promises to be equally smooth (e.g., hopefully no rebuilding of indices). It's this kind of rapid-release of incremental improvements to functionality that our community really needs.

The "wait 3 to 4 years then do a big painful migration" model that Microsoft puts us through on most of its products has got to change. What we're getting from Search is exactly what the entire industry is searching for from a deployment and manageability perspective. And what I see as an analyst is a product making deliberate steps forward, rather than lurching and jumping forward like, say, the Windows client (Vista), which illustrates the risk of waiting too long then jumping. I hope the rest of Microsoft is paying attention to what the SharePoint Search team has achieved.