A new search engine appears: will you use it?

Tonight a new search engine showed up. Techcrunch has the details. So do tons of other blogs. Search engine guru Danny Sullivan has a great post about the new engine, Cuil, (pronounced “cool”). I wasn’t pre-briefed or anything. Like I said last week I’m trying to get out of the PR game and try to get back to what made me like blogging: sharing information with other users.

So, has anyone figured out a good way to quickly test search engines? I haven’t. Everyone has their own search terms that they use to judge whether or not an engine is interesting.

I remember when I was trying to convince my dad to move from Alta Vista to Google he had a bunch of very specific scientific searches he’d do. He used to love showing me that Alta Vista had more and better results. I kept at it. After about two years he switched to Google too.

Today isn’t like back in the Alta Vista days. Back then there was porn and spam that was showing up in my result sets. Google doesn’t have those problems and usually works for almost anything I search for. When it doesn’t work, I try some of the other engines, or just refactor my search and it almost always works. I can’t remember the last time I was totally stymied by Google.

But, what’s great about the blogosphere is that everyone gets to participate. Look at TechCrunch’s early searches and the comments that are coming in. I, too, think that Cuil is going to face an uphill battle based on my early searches.

On the other hand, let’s give Cuil the benefit of the doubt. Let’s say it actually was a better search engine. I still doubt many people would switch. Why?

Distribution.

Huh?

Well, my Firefox browser has Google built into it. Most people have no idea how to switch it. Most people, on our tests, really don’t understand much of anything except that that little box probably now goes to Google. The Google.

It’s so pervasive of an expectation at this point that many people type URLs into that box. Or, type the word “Yahoo” into that box so they can get to their email and other Yahoo services.

Is Cuil going to be able to get into this game?

No way, no how.

On mobile phones it’s worse. My iPhone has Google built in. No way that Cuil is going to be able to rip out Google and replace that with its own engine.

So, why is Cuil here?

I think it’s a play for Microsoft money. Microsoft needs to get back into the search game, so will continue buying companies to try to get back into the search game. Yahoo, if run by management that’s rational, will probably start doing the same thing.

Look at Powerset. They cashed out early to Microsoft. Cuil probably will do the same thing if it brings enough to the table.

Just for fun, though, and to get back to being a user, let’s try one search:

Barack Obama’s technology policy

I put that into all the search engines without any quotes, just to see which one does the best job. Here’s the result set:

Cuil (gave an error, couldn’t find any results)
Google. (best of the three)
Yahoo. (close to Google, but not quite there)
Microsoft. (by far the worst of the big three, didn’t bring the technology policy up as the first result).

Anyway, I did a bunch of other searches on Cuil and they are trying to be different, that’s for sure, but I didn’t see enough of a need to try it out further.

How about you?

Comments

  1. Hey Scoble

    Its giving 102,986 results for scobleizer.

    as against 1,070,000 in Google.

    Your popularity will be down by 1/10 if people use Cuil.

    Some of “great” blogger are not even featuring.

    So I guess you are lucky.

    As it is who is going to use Cuil ? I guess nobody.

    But that was the case with Google earlier too.. I maybe wrong …

  2. Hey Scoble

    Its giving 102,986 results for scobleizer.

    as against 1,070,000 in Google.

    Your popularity will be down by 1/10 if people use Cuil.

    Some of “great” blogger are not even featuring.

    So I guess you are lucky.

    As it is who is going to use Cuil ? I guess nobody.

    But that was the case with Google earlier too.. I maybe wrong …

  3. I have tried this out and am not impressed. I don’t understand why it is serving up unrelated images with the search results. Sticking with Google!

  4. I have tried this out and am not impressed. I don’t understand why it is serving up unrelated images with the search results. Sticking with Google!

  5. This shows, again, how Google is very hard to beat in the online search arena.
    Live Search, Yahoo, Alta Vista, Ask, Wikia Search ( am I missing any? ) and now Cuil.. how many more would it take to give a stiff competition to Google?!

  6. This shows, again, how Google is very hard to beat in the online search arena.
    Live Search, Yahoo, Alta Vista, Ask, Wikia Search ( am I missing any? ) and now Cuil.. how many more would it take to give a stiff competition to Google?!

  7. Cuil has a problem that every technology-based search start-up (compared to Mahalo) has: Indexing is extremely expensive. Even though they found a cheaper way, it’s expensive. Powerset “solved” that problem through only searching Wikipedia (which, well, also removed the need for sophisticated ranking), Cuil solved that through having an outdated index. At the last time Cuil crawled the web in huge amounts, Obama’s tech policy very likely wasn’t even available.

    That makes it difficult to actually compare the quality of the results, because they could likely change that with a huge amount of funding (or an acquisition).

    Me, I agree with your point that they are there for Microsoft’s money. Microsoft would be intelligent to buy the promising search start-ups and give them all the resources they need. (Personnel, computing power)
    Cuil could give them a cheaper crawling technology, which all other search properties (Live Search, Powerset) would profit from, Powerset could take this index and process it with their technology, Live Search and Cuil could do their thing with it.
    Live Search is a dead brand, they should simply try several approaches and hope that one of them works. Cuil, like Powerset, wouldn’t be very expensive. They could get it for 100 to 200 million dollars.

  8. Cuil has a problem that every technology-based search start-up (compared to Mahalo) has: Indexing is extremely expensive. Even though they found a cheaper way, it’s expensive. Powerset “solved” that problem through only searching Wikipedia (which, well, also removed the need for sophisticated ranking), Cuil solved that through having an outdated index. At the last time Cuil crawled the web in huge amounts, Obama’s tech policy very likely wasn’t even available.

    That makes it difficult to actually compare the quality of the results, because they could likely change that with a huge amount of funding (or an acquisition).

    Me, I agree with your point that they are there for Microsoft’s money. Microsoft would be intelligent to buy the promising search start-ups and give them all the resources they need. (Personnel, computing power)
    Cuil could give them a cheaper crawling technology, which all other search properties (Live Search, Powerset) would profit from, Powerset could take this index and process it with their technology, Live Search and Cuil could do their thing with it.
    Live Search is a dead brand, they should simply try several approaches and hope that one of them works. Cuil, like Powerset, wouldn’t be very expensive. They could get it for 100 to 200 million dollars.

  9. The engine was down giving this message:
    “The search engine is momentarily unavailable as we add more capacity.”

    Now it is up and I can make a few test searches. I actually like the clean 3-column layout. The long texts in the results seem to be of rather good quality. I’m definetely going to use it now and then. At least, it gives an additional viewpoint to the web.

    BTW: For those looking for more visual search, do check searchme.com which is in beta stage at the moment.

  10. The engine was down giving this message:
    “The search engine is momentarily unavailable as we add more capacity.”

    Now it is up and I can make a few test searches. I actually like the clean 3-column layout. The long texts in the results seem to be of rather good quality. I’m definetely going to use it now and then. At least, it gives an additional viewpoint to the web.

    BTW: For those looking for more visual search, do check searchme.com which is in beta stage at the moment.

  11. The search index is largely outdated it seems. Tried some phrases and it was evident. And when you try searching people, thats crystal clear

    Moreover, tried cuil [word] on google [search] and google [word] on cuil [search] .. cuil gave me link to google.co.uk ! and a tabbed browsing for its specific sites. which was nice.

    Though, google has benchmarks which are difficult to beat the very first day.
    It needs to evolve. Cuil’s Evolution would tell..

  12. The search index is largely outdated it seems. Tried some phrases and it was evident. And when you try searching people, thats crystal clear

    Moreover, tried cuil [word] on google [search] and google [word] on cuil [search] .. cuil gave me link to google.co.uk ! and a tabbed browsing for its specific sites. which was nice.

    Though, google has benchmarks which are difficult to beat the very first day.
    It needs to evolve. Cuil’s Evolution would tell..

  13. Cuil delivered pretty good results for some searches I tried, and I like their page layout. I’m interested to see what they do in the mobile space; it looks like they haven’t addressed that yet.

  14. Cuil delivered pretty good results for some searches I tried, and I like their page layout. I’m interested to see what they do in the mobile space; it looks like they haven’t addressed that yet.

  15. What did you think of the 3-column display? I really liked the different layout ideas from Cuil.

    Can’t see it doing much – any website that needs to be spelt and is unclear how to pronounce is never going to get past a niche audience that likes to blog about sites that are silly to spell and need explainations on how to say it.

    Mum and Dad aren’t going to be using cool.com, i mean cuill.com, cull.com…. oh whatever. Just Google it.

    But as cuil.com fails, let look at some of the nice ideas it came up with.

  16. What did you think of the 3-column display? I really liked the different layout ideas from Cuil.

    Can’t see it doing much – any website that needs to be spelt and is unclear how to pronounce is never going to get past a niche audience that likes to blog about sites that are silly to spell and need explainations on how to say it.

    Mum and Dad aren’t going to be using cool.com, i mean cuill.com, cull.com…. oh whatever. Just Google it.

    But as cuil.com fails, let look at some of the nice ideas it came up with.

  17. Very good point on the distribution, Robert. It is always interesting to see startups launch with an idea of offering something better (and we have already seen to many arguments to prove it is not better) and more scalable without thinking of distribution. Cuil talks about privacy issues without realizing that their approach is only appealing for a small crowd of early adopters. And the fact that this engine is different does not mean that it is better. So before distributing your product to the masses you have to make sure you are much better than the existing competition. And $33 million does not sound like enough both for the infrastructure and efficient distribution.

  18. Very good point on the distribution, Robert. It is always interesting to see startups launch with an idea of offering something better (and we have already seen to many arguments to prove it is not better) and more scalable without thinking of distribution. Cuil talks about privacy issues without realizing that their approach is only appealing for a small crowd of early adopters. And the fact that this engine is different does not mean that it is better. So before distributing your product to the masses you have to make sure you are much better than the existing competition. And $33 million does not sound like enough both for the infrastructure and efficient distribution.

  19. Looks like you got some attention from someone there. The Obama search works well now. Maybe this could be an interesting Mahalo variant – someone blogs about a search term, they go add it to the index.

  20. Looks like you got some attention from someone there. The Obama search works well now. Maybe this could be an interesting Mahalo variant – someone blogs about a search term, they go add it to the index.

  21. Two reasons why I don’t care for it: first, the name. I abhor things that are deliberately spelled wrong (I’m an editor). How on earth does someone get “cool” out of “cuil”? I’d likely try to say “kweel” or keep tripping over my tongue until someone corrected me. Had you not said it was pronounced “cool”, I’d never have guessed it. Second: I don’t like how the search result are laid out. Three columns? What the heck? How do I know which is most important? It’s unfamiliar formatting, and this late in the game, going so far away from what users are familiar with – unless it’s a completely usable format – is not a good idea. Just my two cents, as a professional writer and editor.

  22. Two reasons why I don’t care for it: first, the name. I abhor things that are deliberately spelled wrong (I’m an editor). How on earth does someone get “cool” out of “cuil”? I’d likely try to say “kweel” or keep tripping over my tongue until someone corrected me. Had you not said it was pronounced “cool”, I’d never have guessed it. Second: I don’t like how the search result are laid out. Three columns? What the heck? How do I know which is most important? It’s unfamiliar formatting, and this late in the game, going so far away from what users are familiar with – unless it’s a completely usable format – is not a good idea. Just my two cents, as a professional writer and editor.

  23. Cuil. I must admit I spelled it wrong the first time I looked for it and got an Italian porn site. Seems as though Culi is something totally different :)

    On thing I noticed with Cuil is it’s lack of monetization or advertising. Granted they are new the layout doesn’t seen to really lend itself to ads. In the end maybe they will invent some small piece of technology that one of the big 3 deem useful enough to buy them.

  24. Cuil. I must admit I spelled it wrong the first time I looked for it and got an Italian porn site. Seems as though Culi is something totally different :)

    On thing I noticed with Cuil is it’s lack of monetization or advertising. Granted they are new the layout doesn’t seen to really lend itself to ads. In the end maybe they will invent some small piece of technology that one of the big 3 deem useful enough to buy them.

  25. It will also be difficult to tear Google power-users away. I’ve integrated a lot of their tools into my “web experience” for work and play. Google, iGoogle, Gmail, GoogleReader, GoogleMaps which I use daily for work, GoogleCalendar which I sync with my outlook and more. It’s difficult to compete with so many options when you’re a startup search engine. And I’m not about to give my tools unless Google shuts down, which would make me very sad but we know that’s not gonna happen anytime soon.

  26. It will also be difficult to tear Google power-users away. I’ve integrated a lot of their tools into my “web experience” for work and play. Google, iGoogle, Gmail, GoogleReader, GoogleMaps which I use daily for work, GoogleCalendar which I sync with my outlook and more. It’s difficult to compete with so many options when you’re a startup search engine. And I’m not about to give my tools unless Google shuts down, which would make me very sad but we know that’s not gonna happen anytime soon.

  27. I don’t like the SERP’s i’m getting, the column structure doesn’t add much other than confusion, results seem outdated, missing relevant url’s.
    Sorry, at the moment Cuil seems disappointing to me.
    “Explore by Category” is a nice addition, more engines should implement it.

  28. I don’t like the SERP’s i’m getting, the column structure doesn’t add much other than confusion, results seem outdated, missing relevant url’s.
    Sorry, at the moment Cuil seems disappointing to me.
    “Explore by Category” is a nice addition, more engines should implement it.

  29. I think the paradigms that Google has established will be difficult to break away from. Here are some of those expectations:

    -Results will be in an ordered list: are Cuil’s left-to-right, then top-to-bottom? If so, the fifth highest item gets visibility at the top of the page?)
    -Results are easily “scannable” by the eyes: Cuil’s can’t be scanned because they’re broken into three columns (or even two, as they offer this option)…this irritates me, and apparently doesn’t work well, see Nielsen’s study http://www.useit.com/alertbox/reading_pattern.html
    -The toolbar: As you have mentioned, I already see people type in that, and they simply expect to see Google results (or as you said, they type in their Url there…oops). Even if Cuil got a toolbar in peoples’ browsers, if a three column list popped up, they’ll think they’ve done something wrong, and they’ll probably not even realize they’re looking at search results
    -Google is a verb and a noun…I would surmise that even if people used a different browser, they would probably still say, “Did you google it?” Much like “Xerox it” still gets thrown around even if you’re using a Ricoh. Will anyone ever “cuil it?”

  30. I think the paradigms that Google has established will be difficult to break away from. Here are some of those expectations:

    -Results will be in an ordered list: are Cuil’s left-to-right, then top-to-bottom? If so, the fifth highest item gets visibility at the top of the page?)
    -Results are easily “scannable” by the eyes: Cuil’s can’t be scanned because they’re broken into three columns (or even two, as they offer this option)…this irritates me, and apparently doesn’t work well, see Nielsen’s study http://www.useit.com/alertbox/reading_pattern.html
    -The toolbar: As you have mentioned, I already see people type in that, and they simply expect to see Google results (or as you said, they type in their Url there…oops). Even if Cuil got a toolbar in peoples’ browsers, if a three column list popped up, they’ll think they’ve done something wrong, and they’ll probably not even realize they’re looking at search results
    -Google is a verb and a noun…I would surmise that even if people used a different browser, they would probably still say, “Did you google it?” Much like “Xerox it” still gets thrown around even if you’re using a Ricoh. Will anyone ever “cuil it?”

  31. Back in the AltaVista days, search was broken. It took a long time. Now, how often do you really not get what you want on your Google search? Most of us aren’t feeling any search pain. We go to google, get what we want and move on. I tried it out. the layout is neat, it’s a bit smoother UI, but since I don’t have much pain in search and my habits are pretty built in (plus start page, gmail and reader), unless I hear either
    1. just keep hearing people RaVE re Cuil that it’s SO much better
    2 google starts being unreliable

    I am probably not moving

    Like the play for MS $ angle, that’s a good bet.

  32. Back in the AltaVista days, search was broken. It took a long time. Now, how often do you really not get what you want on your Google search? Most of us aren’t feeling any search pain. We go to google, get what we want and move on. I tried it out. the layout is neat, it’s a bit smoother UI, but since I don’t have much pain in search and my habits are pretty built in (plus start page, gmail and reader), unless I hear either
    1. just keep hearing people RaVE re Cuil that it’s SO much better
    2 google starts being unreliable

    I am probably not moving

    Like the play for MS $ angle, that’s a good bet.

  33. I agree with the “why bother” crowd. Seriously, there are so many more interesting problems out there to solve, does the world really need yet another search engine?

    Robert, you’re absolutely right. This is a play for Microsoft $$$. We have a window of a few months where we’re probably going to see tons of search companies start up with the sole purpose of being bought by Microsoft.

  34. I agree with the “why bother” crowd. Seriously, there are so many more interesting problems out there to solve, does the world really need yet another search engine?

    Robert, you’re absolutely right. This is a play for Microsoft $$$. We have a window of a few months where we’re probably going to see tons of search companies start up with the sole purpose of being bought by Microsoft.

  35. Tried a few searches and didn’t get anything good out of it. In that regard it is as useless as Mahalo (seriously, does anyone use that crap??!)

    Come to think of it… it’s so much like iPhone I could easily be led to believe it’s an Apple product. Nice on the outside but essentially crap.

  36. Tried a few searches and didn’t get anything good out of it. In that regard it is as useless as Mahalo (seriously, does anyone use that crap??!)

    Come to think of it… it’s so much like iPhone I could easily be led to believe it’s an Apple product. Nice on the outside but essentially crap.

  37. As soon as I heard about their privacy policy, I switched my home page to Cuil. I am not nearly as concerned about how many search results I get as I am about privacy. As far as Google is concerned, who cares if you get a million hits? Are you going to read all of them?

  38. I have a feeling that even better results wont shift people from Google search now. It’s so much integrated into many things now, Firefox, iPhone ( and sony ericsson phones as well,) heck, even in Opera Mini. Even Safari has Google as default. So unless someone can pay more then Google to replace these defaults ( or become defaults in other important software ) , there’s going to be no harm to Google’s search engine market share.

  39. As soon as I heard about their privacy policy, I switched my home page to Cuil. I am not nearly as concerned about how many search results I get as I am about privacy. As far as Google is concerned, who cares if you get a million hits? Are you going to read all of them?

  40. I have a feeling that even better results wont shift people from Google search now. It’s so much integrated into many things now, Firefox, iPhone ( and sony ericsson phones as well,) heck, even in Opera Mini. Even Safari has Google as default. So unless someone can pay more then Google to replace these defaults ( or become defaults in other important software ) , there’s going to be no harm to Google’s search engine market share.

  41. Search is so 1.0, who cares about this anymore?

    The new search is social media. I use blogs or twitter to find the content that people are discussing, which is a really good filter. And the system feeds on itself too. If the people/blogs talking about what I am interested in are not in my list, I will include in my ecosystem so that I can get their input next time as well.

    2 examples of this:
    – search.twitter.com: type a keyword, see who discuss the subject and what their general tweets are about. If they are talking about what you are interested in, follow them and you will get the input as it comes.
    – eCairn: build a list of blogs, start listening, and keep feeding the system. The more you read, the more your ecosystem will be, and the better access to information you will have.

    Now for Google all this is not a huge deal (at least Cuil is not) because Google is about infrastructure these days, rather than search. The real killer Google App is Google Apps, as a way to help companies transition into the new world of online collaboration and online participation. Watch them on this, I see a big wave coming…

  42. Search is so 1.0, who cares about this anymore?

    The new search is social media. I use blogs or twitter to find the content that people are discussing, which is a really good filter. And the system feeds on itself too. If the people/blogs talking about what I am interested in are not in my list, I will include in my ecosystem so that I can get their input next time as well.

    2 examples of this:
    – search.twitter.com: type a keyword, see who discuss the subject and what their general tweets are about. If they are talking about what you are interested in, follow them and you will get the input as it comes.
    – eCairn: build a list of blogs, start listening, and keep feeding the system. The more you read, the more your ecosystem will be, and the better access to information you will have.

    Now for Google all this is not a huge deal (at least Cuil is not) because Google is about infrastructure these days, rather than search. The real killer Google App is Google Apps, as a way to help companies transition into the new world of online collaboration and online participation. Watch them on this, I see a big wave coming…

  43. Robert, you need to read this paper:

    http://research.microsoft.com/~ryenw/papers/WhiteSIGIR2008a.pdf

    I think it answers your questions about what.. and even whether.. there is “a” search engine that you should be using.

    A smart searcher, just like a smart woodworker (for example), understands that there is more than a single tool to get the job done. If you are using only a single engine, you are severely robbing yourself of the best results. No matter what one single engine that is.

  44. Robert, you need to read this paper:

    http://research.microsoft.com/~ryenw/papers/WhiteSIGIR2008a.pdf

    I think it answers your questions about what.. and even whether.. there is “a” search engine that you should be using.

    A smart searcher, just like a smart woodworker (for example), understands that there is more than a single tool to get the job done. If you are using only a single engine, you are severely robbing yourself of the best results. No matter what one single engine that is.

  45. @DianaV:

    “Its giving 102,986 results for scobleizer. as against 1,070,000 in Google.”

    It never ceases to amaze me how many people quote these types of numbers, then conclude that the engine with the bigger number is the better one. First of all, you should look at the experiment that Scoble did a few years ago, with the word “brrreeeport”. One can conclude that Google vastly (and incorrectly) overinflates its numbers. It lies, in other words.

    And even if it didn’t lie, one has to realize that Google will not show you more than the top 1000 results, anyway. What does it matter if there are 100,000 or 100,000,000? If the search engine won’t show you more than 1,000, the two numbers might as well be the same.

  46. @DianaV:

    “Its giving 102,986 results for scobleizer. as against 1,070,000 in Google.”

    It never ceases to amaze me how many people quote these types of numbers, then conclude that the engine with the bigger number is the better one. First of all, you should look at the experiment that Scoble did a few years ago, with the word “brrreeeport”. One can conclude that Google vastly (and incorrectly) overinflates its numbers. It lies, in other words.

    And even if it didn’t lie, one has to realize that Google will not show you more than the top 1000 results, anyway. What does it matter if there are 100,000 or 100,000,000? If the search engine won’t show you more than 1,000, the two numbers might as well be the same.

  47. A lot of these same arguments could’ve been used to explain why Yahoo or Alta Vista or (insert name of leading search engine circa 2000) would fend off Google. In terms of distribution, plenty of people ignore all of the preloaded crap that comes with a PC and go right to their favorite sites.

    If anyone proved that a simple and better technology could eventually win out, it’s GOOG.

    Not saying Cuil has all that, just the logic behind many of these posts seems ironic given Google’s history.

  48. A lot of these same arguments could’ve been used to explain why Yahoo or Alta Vista or (insert name of leading search engine circa 2000) would fend off Google. In terms of distribution, plenty of people ignore all of the preloaded crap that comes with a PC and go right to their favorite sites.

    If anyone proved that a simple and better technology could eventually win out, it’s GOOG.

    Not saying Cuil has all that, just the logic behind many of these posts seems ironic given Google’s history.

  49. Mike: AltaVista didn’t have the lockin that Google has today. Try to switch out the search engine on the iPhone, especially on the maps. Go ahead and try, I’ll wait. You can’t. That’s MUCH different than it used to be.

  50. Mike: AltaVista didn’t have the lockin that Google has today. Try to switch out the search engine on the iPhone, especially on the maps. Go ahead and try, I’ll wait. You can’t. That’s MUCH different than it used to be.

  51. Cuil has an attractive design. I’m still not convinced of its functionality though. I could see myself using Cuil as something supplemental to Google, maybe, if I can’t find what I’m looking for on Google (since they do come up with fairly different search results).

  52. Cuil has an attractive design. I’m still not convinced of its functionality though. I could see myself using Cuil as something supplemental to Google, maybe, if I can’t find what I’m looking for on Google (since they do come up with fairly different search results).

  53. This is the worst site I’ve ever uses. Porn pop ups immediately while searching. I am at work and porn does not work here. What is wrong with that search engine allowing porn to pop up and I mean it’s ladies from around here.

  54. This is the worst site I’ve ever uses. Porn pop ups immediately while searching. I am at work and porn does not work here. What is wrong with that search engine allowing porn to pop up and I mean it’s ladies from around here.

  55. Define Epic Failure:

    You launch a search engine to compete against Google, spout off that you have more indexed pages, more relevant results, a better design, and better algorithm, and you name yourself Cuil (pronounced cool). You do a search using the Cuil search engine for the word Cuil, and they don’t even show up in their own search results.

  56. Define Epic Failure:

    You launch a search engine to compete against Google, spout off that you have more indexed pages, more relevant results, a better design, and better algorithm, and you name yourself Cuil (pronounced cool). You do a search using the Cuil search engine for the word Cuil, and they don’t even show up in their own search results.

  57. @jere
    The size of their index is part of their pitch to users. They said to the press that they have the biggest index size.
    Sure it doesn’t matter – relevancy is the most important thing. I wouldn’t care if search engines had only 20 results for each query – as long as these were the relevant results! But Cuil advertises their index size – which doesn’t seem that big after all.

  58. @jere
    The size of their index is part of their pitch to users. They said to the press that they have the biggest index size.
    Sure it doesn’t matter – relevancy is the most important thing. I wouldn’t care if search engines had only 20 results for each query – as long as these were the relevant results! But Cuil advertises their index size – which doesn’t seem that big after all.

  59. @Sebastian: Well, Google also recently re-advertised its index size. Just a few days ago, it started bragging about how it had just reached a trillion web pages in its index. Perhaps Google, who had sworn long ago that index size didn’t matter, pre-released that information to try and undercut the Cuil hype? Whatever the reason, both Google and Cuil are now bragging about the size of their indices.

    And since Scoble has already shown that Google lies about these sorts of things, by overinflating the reported numbers (“brrreeeport”), I don’t really see how you can conclude that Cuil’s index doesn’t seem that big, after all.

  60. @Sebastian: Well, Google also recently re-advertised its index size. Just a few days ago, it started bragging about how it had just reached a trillion web pages in its index. Perhaps Google, who had sworn long ago that index size didn’t matter, pre-released that information to try and undercut the Cuil hype? Whatever the reason, both Google and Cuil are now bragging about the size of their indices.

    And since Scoble has already shown that Google lies about these sorts of things, by overinflating the reported numbers (“brrreeeport”), I don’t really see how you can conclude that Cuil’s index doesn’t seem that big, after all.

  61. Maybe someone can look up those original series of blogposts again, so that we all can see the exact experiment and numbers. (Scoble?) But at the risk of being corrected, what I remember is that at the same time that Google Blog Search was reporting 500 or 600 different pages with the word “brrreeeport” on it, Google Web Search was showing something like 200,000 web pages with that word on it. And this was like two days after Scoble originally invented the word — meaning that it didn’t exist on any web page, anywhere, two days prior.

    And since Scoble had asked bloggers to put the word on their blogs, I tend to think that it is more true that 600 blogs suddenly started using the word, rather than 200,000 web pages.

    So let’s generously assume that the real number of pages that contained brrreeeport, two days after Scoble invented the word, was somewhere around 2000. That means that Google was overreporting the size of their index by a factor of about 100. So if this is really the case, and Cuil isn’t lying about their numbers while Google is, then Cuil’s index does appear to be larger.

  62. Maybe someone can look up those original series of blogposts again, so that we all can see the exact experiment and numbers. (Scoble?) But at the risk of being corrected, what I remember is that at the same time that Google Blog Search was reporting 500 or 600 different pages with the word “brrreeeport” on it, Google Web Search was showing something like 200,000 web pages with that word on it. And this was like two days after Scoble originally invented the word — meaning that it didn’t exist on any web page, anywhere, two days prior.

    And since Scoble had asked bloggers to put the word on their blogs, I tend to think that it is more true that 600 blogs suddenly started using the word, rather than 200,000 web pages.

    So let’s generously assume that the real number of pages that contained brrreeeport, two days after Scoble invented the word, was somewhere around 2000. That means that Google was overreporting the size of their index by a factor of about 100. So if this is really the case, and Cuil isn’t lying about their numbers while Google is, then Cuil’s index does appear to be larger.

  63. FWIW: I just did a search on both Cuil and Google for “brrreeeport”. Google now reports 9,590 web pages (down from their two year high of 200,000? Did 190,000 servers suddenly go offline?) with the word, and Cuil reports 9,641 web pages.

    Seems like Cuil is quite competitive with Google’s size.

  64. FWIW: I just did a search on both Cuil and Google for “brrreeeport”. Google now reports 9,590 web pages (down from their two year high of 200,000? Did 190,000 servers suddenly go offline?) with the word, and Cuil reports 9,641 web pages.

    Seems like Cuil is quite competitive with Google’s size.

  65. 33MM! – a really bad name and we have to scroll DOWN to access a search? Sideways?

    Doesn’t pick up Mac-based urls…interface unpretty…not ready, overly bumptious….sure smells like a Microsoft branding project.

    They’re Kidding, right?

  66. 33MM! – a really bad name and we have to scroll DOWN to access a search? Sideways?

    Doesn’t pick up Mac-based urls…interface unpretty…not ready, overly bumptious….sure smells like a Microsoft branding project.

    They’re Kidding, right?

  67. They seem to better. Now when I do your Obama search I get a different result every time. Which is consistent with Obama’s message.

  68. They seem to better. Now when I do your Obama search I get a different result every time. Which is consistent with Obama’s message.

  69. They seem slower. Have improved relevancy of results but lack some of the bells and whistles that Google has built up overtime E.g “Did you mean” Would use as an addition to google not a replacement at this point

  70. They seem slower. Have improved relevancy of results but lack some of the bells and whistles that Google has built up overtime E.g “Did you mean” Would use as an addition to google not a replacement at this point

  71. This site sucks in my opinion. Although the pics beside the results are pretty cool, that doesn’t account for the irrevelant results. Next!

  72. This site sucks in my opinion. Although the pics beside the results are pretty cool, that doesn’t account for the irrevelant results. Next!

  73. There is a ‘bounded rationality’ meaning people generally settle on ‘good enough’ and don’t need ‘the best’. Google is THE ‘good enough’ of today’s search-sphere. We do not need any other search engine.

  74. There is a ‘bounded rationality’ meaning people generally settle on ‘good enough’ and don’t need ‘the best’. Google is THE ‘good enough’ of today’s search-sphere. We do not need any other search engine.

  75. Since there is no eraser on the Internet, I just “Googled” myself on http://www.Cuil.com ….and…was pleasantly surprised liking the display of results and what I read. Guess I’ll be using Cuil again and again and even advertising there when offered.

  76. Since there is no eraser on the Internet, I just “Googled” myself on http://www.Cuil.com ….and…was pleasantly surprised liking the display of results and what I read. Guess I’ll be using Cuil again and again and even advertising there when offered.

  77. Have searched for “Cuil” and “Cuil.com” on http://www.cuil.com – and their own site is nowhere to be seen :).

    Very smooth.

    “Cuil.com – works 60% of the time — everytime”

  78. Have searched for “Cuil” and “Cuil.com” on http://www.cuil.com – and their own site is nowhere to be seen :).

    Very smooth.

    “Cuil.com – works 60% of the time — everytime”

  79. […] más, sus resultados no son muy relevantes (en especial en castellano). Sin embargo y como haría Scoble démosle una oportunidad a Cuil haciendo una búsqueda. La palabra a buscar y poniéndosela más […]

  80. Google managed to overtake established search engines based almost solely on word of mouth… Cuil could to the same thing.

    BTW it’s incredibly easy to make Cuil your default search in Firefox… firefox asks you to add it while you’re on the Cuil web site, if you expand the search option box top right.

    Cuil should quickly add news – their layout would be great to add google news-like search results for certain queries – in a tabbed option layout. So far I think this is pretty good. It’s not like Google search is so amazing that it’s untouchable.

    Like most things, there is tons of room for improvement.

  81. Google managed to overtake established search engines based almost solely on word of mouth… Cuil could to the same thing.

    BTW it’s incredibly easy to make Cuil your default search in Firefox… firefox asks you to add it while you’re on the Cuil web site, if you expand the search option box top right.

    Cuil should quickly add news – their layout would be great to add google news-like search results for certain queries – in a tabbed option layout. So far I think this is pretty good. It’s not like Google search is so amazing that it’s untouchable.

    Like most things, there is tons of room for improvement.

  82. I just Cuil’d myself, and the first result was me. What’s more, I discovered that I’m also a racing driver.

    They may claim to have more pages indexed than Google, but that doesn’t necessarily mean anything. It depends on how you count, such is the nature of the web.

    @Andrew: Well, is anyone actually going to want to find Cuil using Cuil. They are obviously aware of the search engine’s location if they are using it.

  83. I just Cuil’d myself, and the first result was me. What’s more, I discovered that I’m also a racing driver.

    They may claim to have more pages indexed than Google, but that doesn’t necessarily mean anything. It depends on how you count, such is the nature of the web.

    @Andrew: Well, is anyone actually going to want to find Cuil using Cuil. They are obviously aware of the search engine’s location if they are using it.

  84. As a fine art landscape photographer, I was surprised to “cuil” my name and see a suggestive image of a woman next to website results…I don’t photograph people. I did similar searches for other photographers in my circle and discovered the same thing – sexually suggestive images of women next to the results. I wrote cuil an e-mail straight away because to me it’s not appropriate that they make such an association and could potentially trash my name to their users. So much for relevant content…

  85. As a fine art landscape photographer, I was surprised to “cuil” my name and see a suggestive image of a woman next to website results…I don’t photograph people. I did similar searches for other photographers in my circle and discovered the same thing – sexually suggestive images of women next to the results. I wrote cuil an e-mail straight away because to me it’s not appropriate that they make such an association and could potentially trash my name to their users. So much for relevant content…

  86. I compared Cuil, Google and Live Search on 3 terms that are important to me: eceblogger (the blog I run), Project54 (the project I work on at UNH) and “Andrew Kun” (my name). Results:

    Cuil:
    eceblogger: Only finds references on other pages, search should produce http://www.eceblogger.com as the top result.
    Project54: Search produces no results. It should find http://www.project54.com.
    Andrew Kun: Worst of all, it can’t find me very well! Shocking. When I search for Andrew Kun, I find a golf player in Canada and some old pages I set up, but not my current page in my department, or my http://www.andrewkun.com.

    Google:
    eceblogger: top result http://www.eceblogger.com
    Project54: top result http://www.project54.unh.edu
    Andrew Kun: top result my current UNH page, http://www.andrewkun.com is 3rd

    Live Search:
    eceblogger: top result http://www.eceblogger.com
    Project54: top result http://www.project54.unh.edu
    Andrew Kun: top result http://www.andrewkun.com

    So forget Cuil! ;) Google and Live Search are tied with a slight edge to Live Search for placing http://www.andrewkun.com on top.

  87. I compared Cuil, Google and Live Search on 3 terms that are important to me: eceblogger (the blog I run), Project54 (the project I work on at UNH) and “Andrew Kun” (my name). Results:

    Cuil:
    eceblogger: Only finds references on other pages, search should produce http://www.eceblogger.com as the top result.
    Project54: Search produces no results. It should find http://www.project54.com.
    Andrew Kun: Worst of all, it can’t find me very well! Shocking. When I search for Andrew Kun, I find a golf player in Canada and some old pages I set up, but not my current page in my department, or my http://www.andrewkun.com.

    Google:
    eceblogger: top result http://www.eceblogger.com
    Project54: top result http://www.project54.unh.edu
    Andrew Kun: top result my current UNH page, http://www.andrewkun.com is 3rd

    Live Search:
    eceblogger: top result http://www.eceblogger.com
    Project54: top result http://www.project54.unh.edu
    Andrew Kun: top result http://www.andrewkun.com

    So forget Cuil! ;) Google and Live Search are tied with a slight edge to Live Search for placing http://www.andrewkun.com on top.

  88. Try searching for “Facebook f8″ (without quotes). What result would you expect at the top? Google shows developers.facebook.com, while live shows the webpage for the F8 event.

  89. Try searching for “Facebook f8″ (without quotes). What result would you expect at the top? Google shows developers.facebook.com, while live shows the webpage for the F8 event.

  90. Robert, very perceptive about the possible MSFT angle.

    Love how someone further up said they “cuiled” themselves… and the image mix-up thing is downright comical (you’d think they would have checked at least that bit, apparently they served up even quite a few X-rated images next to unsuspecting poeple’s bios, etc. ).

    Just finished an in depth look at the Cuil branding disaster (with Knol hot on its heels):

    http://businessmindhacks.com/post/cuil-knol-and-other-crimes-against-branding

  91. Robert, very perceptive about the possible MSFT angle.

    Love how someone further up said they “cuiled” themselves… and the image mix-up thing is downright comical (you’d think they would have checked at least that bit, apparently they served up even quite a few X-rated images next to unsuspecting poeple’s bios, etc. ).

    Just finished an in depth look at the Cuil branding disaster (with Knol hot on its heels):

    http://businessmindhacks.com/post/cuil-knol-and-other-crimes-against-branding

  92. Several people have mentioned how Google came from behind, via word-of-mouth to win the search game and suggest that Cuil could do the same. I disagree; I am a pretty heavy user of search and have been for a while and the day that I heard of a new search engine called Google (what was that name about?) I tried it and immediately saw that it cut through the porn and other garbage to deliver EXACTLY what I was looking for. I was hooked from the first moment and never used Excite again (along with just about everyone else it seemed) and told everyone interested about this great search engine with the wacky name

    I tried Cuil in the same way and sadly it lost me straight away – first by being down (I don’t recall ever seeing that happen with Google – how are Cuil going to compete with that scale?) but I can forgive that…just. But by failing to return any answers to some queries that Google just nailed – I’m not talking about stuff that requires up-to-the-minute indexes, just regular searches that cuil thought were so specialized that nothing could be found whilst Google took me straight to the answer. Sorry guys but I’m too busy to help you debug your stuff when I have a perfectly adequate solution today.

    I do appreciate the play on privacy – that alone got me interested enough to try it even after the initial service crashes. But you have to deliver and right now it doesn’t

  93. Several people have mentioned how Google came from behind, via word-of-mouth to win the search game and suggest that Cuil could do the same. I disagree; I am a pretty heavy user of search and have been for a while and the day that I heard of a new search engine called Google (what was that name about?) I tried it and immediately saw that it cut through the porn and other garbage to deliver EXACTLY what I was looking for. I was hooked from the first moment and never used Excite again (along with just about everyone else it seemed) and told everyone interested about this great search engine with the wacky name

    I tried Cuil in the same way and sadly it lost me straight away – first by being down (I don’t recall ever seeing that happen with Google – how are Cuil going to compete with that scale?) but I can forgive that…just. But by failing to return any answers to some queries that Google just nailed – I’m not talking about stuff that requires up-to-the-minute indexes, just regular searches that cuil thought were so specialized that nothing could be found whilst Google took me straight to the answer. Sorry guys but I’m too busy to help you debug your stuff when I have a perfectly adequate solution today.

    I do appreciate the play on privacy – that alone got me interested enough to try it even after the initial service crashes. But you have to deliver and right now it doesn’t

  94. Several people have mentioned how Google came from behind, via word-of-mouth to win the search game and suggest that Cuil could do the same. I disagree; I am a pretty heavy user of search and have been for a while and the day that I heard of a new search engine called Google (what was that name about?) I tried it and immediately saw that it cut through the porn and other garbage to deliver EXACTLY what I was looking for. I was hooked from the first moment and never used Excite again (along with just about everyone else it seemed) and told everyone interested about this great search engine with the wacky name

    I tried Cuil in the same way and sadly it lost me straight away – first by being down (I don’t recall ever seeing that happen with Google – how are Cuil going to compete with that scale?) but I can forgive that…just. But by failing to return any answers to some queries that Google just nailed – I’m not talking about stuff that requires up-to-the-minute indexes, just regular searches that cuil thought were so specialized that nothing could be found whilst Google took me straight to the answer. Sorry guys but I’m too busy to help you debug your stuff when I have a perfectly adequate solution today.

    I do appreciate the play on privacy – that alone got me interested enough to try it even after the initial service crashes. But you have to deliver and right now it doesn’t

  95. Several people have mentioned how Google came from behind, via word-of-mouth to win the search game and suggest that Cuil could do the same. I disagree; I am a pretty heavy user of search and have been for a while and the day that I heard of a new search engine called Google (what was that name about?) I tried it and immediately saw that it cut through the porn and other garbage to deliver EXACTLY what I was looking for. I was hooked from the first moment and never used Excite again (along with just about everyone else it seemed) and told everyone interested about this great search engine with the wacky name

    I tried Cuil in the same way and sadly it lost me straight away – first by being down (I don’t recall ever seeing that happen with Google – how are Cuil going to compete with that scale?) but I can forgive that…just. But by failing to return any answers to some queries that Google just nailed – I’m not talking about stuff that requires up-to-the-minute indexes, just regular searches that cuil thought were so specialized that nothing could be found whilst Google took me straight to the answer. Sorry guys but I’m too busy to help you debug your stuff when I have a perfectly adequate solution today.

    I do appreciate the play on privacy – that alone got me interested enough to try it even after the initial service crashes. But you have to deliver and right now it doesn’t

  96. Id probably end up forgetting all about this search engine. There were sites on there I know haven’t even existed for years. Why do we need another under powered search engine.

  97. Id probably end up forgetting all about this search engine. There were sites on there I know haven’t even existed for years. Why do we need another under powered search engine.

  98. I searched for my wife (who has an uncommon name) with Cuil.

    The 1st result was our ancient family website (last updated in January 2004)! The picture attached to the search result has nothing to do with that website.

    The top of Google’s search results are my wife’s Facebook public profile and her Amazon wishlist.

    Google wins.

  99. I searched for my wife (who has an uncommon name) with Cuil.

    The 1st result was our ancient family website (last updated in January 2004)! The picture attached to the search result has nothing to do with that website.

    The top of Google’s search results are my wife’s Facebook public profile and her Amazon wishlist.

    Google wins.