Ex-Googlers launch Cuil, but maybe too early?

Ex-Googlers launch Cuil, but maybe too early?

Summary: One thing I read about too often is the next "Google Killer". When will people realize that this is almost an impossible thing to live up to -- trying is almost always a death wish and a huge waste of money.


One thing I read about too often is the next "Google Killer". When will people realize that this is almost an impossible thing to live up to -- trying is almost always a death wish and a huge waste of money. The last "Google Killer" I even remember (I forget about most of them) was Wikia Search. This project has been plagued by misguided, and overly ambitious expectations -- the truth is that Wikia is years away from even being usable by average users.

Cuil (pronounced "cool"), the newest search sensation, will undoubtedly fall into the same category as Wikia Search -- too much hype. In order for a project to be successful, in my opinion, most early adopters must be a "promoter", but I'm going to guess that won't happen here. I would consider myself an early adopter, and I can tell you that I'm not impressed with the results, and I certainly won't be telling my friends to make the switch. For example, considering Cuil has the "largest index", it was a surprise that I couldn't even find the iQmetrix website (a company I work for).

What do you think? Does Cuil have a chance to topple Google? Would you say you are satisfied with the results you seeing?

Topics: Browser, Google, Software Development

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  • Cuil vs. Google

    According to some of the most public and powerful media sources, that inevitably pump 'edited facts' into the minds of the general public, portray Cuil as being a dismil attempt to tackle google.

    "Google has become so synonymous with Internet search that it may no longer matter how good Cuil or any other challenger is, said Gartner Inc. analyst Allen Weiner.

    What a load of garbage. What if three years ago we were to say 'MySpace has become so synonymous with Social Networking that it may no longer matter how good upcoming competitors such as Facebook or any other challenger is' ... there are many more comparisons that would suggest Allen Weiner's statement to be rash and narrow minded.

    "Search has become as much about branding as anything else," Weiner said. "I doubt (Cuil) will be keeping anyone at Google awake at night."

    Fair enough Allen, stating the obvious about branding a little, however I am sure Google isn't keeping anyone at Cuil awake at night either. At the end of the day people will use the tool that best suits the task.

    Additionally, to simply declare that Cuil will undoubtedly fall into the same category as Wikia Search, and/or any other previous google competitor for this matter, seems to be jumping the gun a little my opinion. Obviously I do not know the secrets and tactics that Cuil plan to use, therefore I won't make any assumptions on what the search engine capabilities are, and likewise the potential (it is still early days for Cuil).

    I have very much the same attitude to this search engine as I did for google in 1998, when the battle began against Altavista. Firefox is another great example.

    The so called fact that Cuil has the largest index is a big call to make, although it is important to realise that the index size does not necessarily reflect quality.

    In regards to the indexing and desired user results - I have noticed, from my experience, that Cuil often displays either different results, or a different ranking. In some cases I prefer the results from Cuil, depending on the search. For now I would recommend using both, don't rule Cuil out just yet.
    Matt Pratley
    • Thoughts

      While I agree with you that comparing Cuil to wikia search or any other failed engine is presumptuous, I thnk the author has a point about the hype surrounding this release. Everyone seems to relish the idea that the new wil immediately replace the old. In fact, in many cases it ends up sounding more like a group of 6 yr olds screaming "NA NA NA NA NA NAAAAAAA" than intelligent "Adults" (being generous in some cases, but....).

      I think the thing that may kill Cuil before it can get off the ground will be it's own hype. I still use many search engines for different search types, and have found that Google doesn't always have the best results. I just hope that the people who don't see the next Google when they use Cuil will still give it a chance.
      Ben Step
      • True

        Well said.
        Matt Pratley
  • RE: Ex-Googlers launch Cuil, but maybe too early?

    Cuil.com fails miserably, and this is why; It doesn't recognize "foreign" letters and words. "Foreign"? Yeah, let's just pretend the internet is US property.

    "??", "??" and "??" are automatically translated to "AE", "O" and "A". So if I do a search for "??g" (egg) i get a lot of results for "AEG". "??l" (beer) gives me results for "ol'" as in "lil ol' webpage" and finally a simple search for "??" gives me a lot of crap, while google would have given me pages which explains where the letter "??" derives from and so forth.

    Try harder next year :)

    EDIT: Seems like zdnet.com doesn't recognize these letters either :) - Pathetic :P
  • RE: Ex-Googlers launch Cuil, but maybe too early?

    I was excited when I read the story yesterday so I immediately tried Cuil. It was not so "cool". I tried three different common searches and came up empty each time. Maybe it will take time for the search engine to mature. However, competition is good so it will be interesting to see how things go.
  • It appeared to have some serious problems

    I don't know how many others experienced what I did, but yesterday (7/28) afternoon I came up with no results on a bunch of different searches. These were searches on single words that are neither obscure nor contain "foreign" characters. The really odd thing was that it was inconsistent: One minute a search for Albany (the capital of New York) returned nothing. The next minute it returned a relatively decent set of results. A minute later, back to nothing. I don't know if this was a symptom of them being unprepared for the traffic that hit them yesterday, or some kind of bug, but either way...you only get one chance to make a 1st impression.
    • Had trouble with the page

      I had the same experience. Sometimes I would get results; sometimes I would not. Several times I could not even open the search page. Seemed like it was getting slammed or something. Not a good first impression.
  • RE: Ex-Googlers launch Cuil, but maybe too early?

    I do not like the way Cuil uses my screen real estate as compared to Google. Although it would appear it returns as nearly as many results per page I get the feeling that I'm going to have to go through more pages to find what I'm seeking. Maybe that's because Cuil packs retailers into the first results while Google puts them in the right hand column and lets me choose whether I'm looking for information or something to buy. I'm sorry, but I just don't like the feel of Cuil.

    I was also a bit put off by their own Web site design. I wanted to give them some feedback on my initial impressions. I found their site's navigation less than intuitive, and when I finally found the place to give them feedback, it opened my email program rather than giving me a form.
  • Old news

    What, we're still talking about how disappointing Cuil is? This is so worn out already.

    The the only thing that can be pulled from this story is that it is obvious that, when presented with a press release about a website that makes over-the-top claims, news organizations won't bother to even type out the url in their browser's location bar before spewing the notice word-for-word.

    I'm almost tempted to create a web site with nothing more than input box and a pr firm.
  • RE: Ex-Googlers launch Cuil, but maybe too early?

    I think I??ll keep searching with the Google powered www.treehoo.com search engine.It works fine and plants trees for most of its profit. Thus I can easily fight global warming from home...
  • RE: Ex-Googlers launch Cuil, but maybe too early?

    I found the images never came close to being correct for the website listed. When searching for the company I work for Cuil showed a picture of a competitor's logo. When searching for something like milk I got side pictures of people or macaroni. Total disaster....
    John from NO
  • RE: Ex-Googlers launch Cuil, but maybe too early?

    There not that bad, and with the strong team behind them I
    give cuil a few years and they will be a giant in the industry,
  • Next to useless?

    Search results are pitiful in terms of relavance in every term I tried...good luck.
  • I like it and look forward to watching it grow and improve

    I like the way Cuil displays results.

    I find the opportunity to get in on the ground floor with something like this to be fun and exciting. I hope it becomes a big success.
    Improper Username
  • RE: Ex-Googlers launch Cuil, but maybe too early?

    Cuil is completely uncuil. I get better search results from an 80's phonebook. Are these engineers are from Google or Noodles? Maybe they should work on a new pad thai.
  • No - worse than useless!

    I just searched Cuil for a book which Google did not turn up in it's first 500 results (title "It's all free for seniors" entered without the quotes).

    Cuil claimed 9,329,966 results, but actually showed just 139 (13 pages at 11 to a full page?).

    Six of the results on the first page were for one site (lslnet), with one for zenreviews.com, and it was all downhill from then on.

    Page 2 listed 3 more for lslnet and 4 more for zenreviews.com, whilst page 3 gave 10 of the 11 to zenreviews.com. The next 9 pages gave every result to zenreviews.com, plus 5 0f the final 7, making a total of 119 /139 to zenreviews.com!(I wonder who owns.....)

    Of these results one, on the last page, appeared to be what I was looking for - so I clicked and lo and behold - "Page banned for TOS violations"!!!!
  • RE: Ex-Googlers launch Cuil, but maybe too early?

    Couldn't find my company's website. In google it ranks as number one. This is probably due to the very local approach of our firm, active in just a part of Belgium. Anyhow, cuil will not be recommended by me.
  • RE: Ex-Googlers launch Cuil, but maybe too early?

    I like the layout of the results but like everyone so far, I was less than impressed by the search results themselves.
    Our tests did pick up some very old versions of our site hosted on a dev server. We're still trying to figure that one out...

    Alain Lemay
  • Meh.

    You expected me to say more than meh? OK. Bah.
    Marcos El Malo