Google Scholar is a search tool built just for scholarly research. It has your typical search tools, including being able to include patent searches and legal documents. Perhaps even more importantly, you can manage your bibliography using the Bibliography Manager, choosing which of several bib programs you want to import your citations into.
Additionally, it has an alert tool to allow notifications of new publication releases in your field of study. Another handy tool is Google Scholar Metrics. You can quickly see how visible or influential recent articles have been by checking on which publication is cited the most. More importantly, it lets you know who has cited them as well.
This article provides a nice overview of the features of Google Scholar plus links to other articles on Google apps: Google Scholar Search Tips.