Octopart is a new part search engine funded by Y Combinator.
It was started by two UC Berkeley physics grad student drop-outs, Sam and Andres. Octopart aggregates part data from major distributors: Newark InOne, Digi-Key, Allied Electronics, and Mouser (more to be added). It allows wildcard (very useful for part numbers), phrase, and boolean searches. The search results include pricing and availability comparison across the distributors, product images, product specs, and part data sheets. The UI is very reminiscent of Google. They get daily part feeds from Newark to keep their availability fresh. The engine is written in Python.
TechCrunch has a write-up on them.
Overall, a very nice start. We'll see how they evolve and add features.
Another competitor in this field is SupplyFrame. Supply frame is more tightly integrated into the buying process with tools (including desktop integration) for RFQ handling, Bill of Materials, etc... more geared for large scale business buyers.
From a recent press release:
SupplyFrame takes component searching one step further by giving users the ability to easily create and manage lists of parts. With SupplyFrame interactive quoting tools, buyers and engineers can run parts lists or complete Bills of Materials through a full quoting cycle with any suppliers in the world.Another feature it has is pricing and lead-time trends for parts (the data still looks pretty sparse). See the trends in a search for: SN74HC14N.
There are other part search engines (ChipIndex, FindChips, etc...), but these are the two new contenders.
Disclaimer: my employer, Globalspec, is a part and components search engine.