Google competitor off to rocky start
UPDATE July 29, 2008:
The new search engine that launched yesterday, Cuil, didn't fare well on its first day despite considerable hype:
On Day 1 yesterday of its attempt to dethrone Google Inc. as king of the Internet search engines, Cuil was shaping up to be a New Coke-style fiasco.
Vitriol was flying fast on tech maven Chris Brogan's IT blog. After waiting two hours for Cuil to return two results for his name, contributor Gopal Shenoy wrote: "(Cuil) is basically unusable – paint dries faster. Did they test this thing to see what the results are before they got coverage on CNN on how Google needs to be scared of them
July 28, 2008:
A few plucky ex-Google employees launched a new search engine today, and unlike some of the other Google wannabes out there, there's actually some money behind it ($33 million of venture capital to be precise, which I'm told is a decent chunk of change, even for a Google competitor).
Aside from the awkward name, which is Cuil (pronounced "Cool"), the new engine boasts some nifty features: search results appear in a magazine format rather than a list, it draws from a bigger index pool, and apparently searches look at the contents of a page rather than links and tags.
I did a little test run today and had to search for terms twice to get any results--probably a day one bug I imagine. Overall it seemed OK, but my biggest beef is the name. As one blogger pointed out, how can "Cuil" become a verb? Cooling for stuff on the net just sounds weird. Teachers in class will be forced to say things like, "If you don't stop cooling right now, you're in for detention mister." Do we want that?
There’s a whole lot of buzz online today over the new search engine Cuil.com (pronounced “cool”). There’s two reasons for this. The first, most accessible reason is that Cuil.com claims to index more Web sites (120 million) than Google does. Theoretically, when you search for something on Cuil, you’re drawing from a larger pool of data. The second reason is that the people responsible for Cuil are all ex-Google folk with a lot of venture capital propping them up.
Patterson instead intends to upstage Google, which she quit in 2006 to develop a more comprehensive and efficient way to scour the Internet.
The end result is Cuil, pronounced "cool." Backed by $33 million in venture capital, the search engine plans to begin processing requests for the first time Monday.
Cuil's search index spans 120 billion Web pages.
Patterson believes that's at least three times the size of Google's index, although there is no way to know for certain. Google stopped publicly quantifying its index's breadth nearly three years ago when the catalog spanned 8.2 billion Web pages.
Rather than trying to mimic Google's method of ranking the quantity and quality of links to Web sites, Patterson says Cuil's technology drills into the actual content of a page. And Cuil's results will be presented in a more magazine-like format instead of just a vertical stack of Web links. Cuil's results are displayed with more photos spread horizontally across the page and include sidebars that can be clicked on to learn more about topics related to the original search request.
Cuil is hoping to attract traffic by promising not to retain information about its users' search histories or surfing patterns - something that Google does, much to the consternation of privacy watchdogs.
I decided to take Cuil for a spin this morning to see just how well it stacks up to Google.
I went to Cuil.com. It's obvious Cuil wants to be the anti-Google. Where Google's home page is all white, Cuil's is black, with just some simple text and a search box located smack in the center of the page. I am sure this design is no accident. I typed in the search query "Mesa Boogie."
Cuil returned about 200,000 results. Rather than a simple list of links, Cuil gave me three columns of results. Each column had four results in it, making for 12 search results on the first page. These results go beyond links to other Web pages. Each result displayed the name of the Web page, included an image, and had about 50 to 100 words worth of text pulled from that Web page so you know what's on it.