Well, two start-up founders from Vienna started an alternative search engine called Blippex. It hit some news sites a while ago, GigaOm, BBC, Businessweek, Venture Village. I must admit, alternatives to major monopolistic search engines like Google or Bing have been arround for a while, like DuckDuckGo or Blekko, but there's a new twist to it.
Instead of crawling the internet on its own, the search engine outsources this task to the user. Privacy is important, so the data is stored anonymously. To support their crawling process the user only have to install a browser plugin. The plugins are open source and the extensions are available here. For each site the user visits, the spent time on the site is sent to the Blippex engine. The spent time on the website is used, instead of links to that page (page rank), for ranking it. This way relevant sites for people get a better ranking and bought relevance gets obsolete.
A week after the guys at Blippex released the first database dump of Blippex, they set up a webpage which shows the webpages that are getting indexed by Blippex right now. I hope they continue to release monthly database dumps, because besides being an alternative for major search engines it's just right to give its voluntary users the indexed processed data. Unfortunately, a concept of a business model doesn't exist yet. So I guess we have to wait to find out if they can be loyal to this idealistic approach. Good luck!