I've recently been doing a bit of research on real-time, data-driven timelines. Here are a few of the solutions that generally fall into the news/search results category. These are less visual and more functional, but that's what I was after in this case.
With so much buzz about infographics, storytelling, rich experiences, and the availability of data, it seems there's renewed potential in the timeline. As I've eluded to, real-time and data-driven seem to me to be the keys to that potential. As designers, we know that we can sit down with a list of dates, a series of events, and a collection of visual assets, and we'll crank out something that's engaging. I'm keeping an eye out for the interesting things that happen when we marry that visual, engaging component with the power of real-time data. I started with news results timelines here, but I'll be sharing more real-time timelines in a later post, so stay tuned. In the meantime, point me to any good examples that you know of.
Experimenting on Your Own
If you're looking to play around with something yourself (without starting from scratch), The Simile Timeline is legitimate and seems to offer a lot of possibilities: