Former Google Employees Start New Search Engine - Cuil (Cool)

Part of the Kenno's Blog series.
By Ken Brown
Editor, You Can Learn Series
July 28, 2008
Stumble It!
A new search engine is open for business. If you are tired of Page Rank, bullying and excessive fees for advertising with Google, then Cuil (pronounced COOL) is the search engine for you. Cuil founders claim they have indexed 120 billion web pages. This is 3 times more than any other search engine.

Visual differences include search engine results in columns. Images attached to each result. More relevant data in the search results rather than just the results that have the most money or best SEO techniques.

How Do You Include Your Site in Cuil?

If you try out Cuil then check to see if your web site is included. If not, then you might want to send an email to them to have their web crawling bot search your site. Personally, I think this is rather archaic to send an email to them rather than having an online insertion form. When I did my search on my site name, You Can Learn Series, they came up with NO results. Searching on my URL, they found two references to my site. I sent them the requested email to have my site crawled.

Why the Columns Instead of a List of Results?

Cuil claims that people prefer columns to a list of results. They liken their results page to multicolumn newspapers and the Bible. I don't think I like the columns. I started at 3 columns and then switched to 2 columns. I was looking for a way to reduce it to 1 column, but no choice was available.

The columns made it difficult to follow the search results pattern in my opinion. Were the results more relevant running left to right or was I supposed to go down one column, return to the top of the page and then proceed down the next column?

They also show images next to your search results. Interestingly, when I was first using the search results page I saw the place holder for the images but no images showed up. After I got to page 5 of the search results, I saw 2 images, but there were still 8 results with no images.

My original search on my URL showed 2 results and 2 images were displayed with the result. The first showed an image of a cactus that I had on the home page at one point in the last 3 months. The second result set was for an article on body building on my site. For this page they showed a partial image of a motorcycle that did not originate from my web pages. What is that all about? The image was in no way relevant to my web site or the article. So, I don't know what the purpose of the images are.

Why do We Need another Search Engine

We don't need another search engine, but in the world wide web there will always be start ups that think they can do it better than the current players. For those that think we don't need another search engine they are the same people that said the same thing when Google first released.

Back in 1995 I am sure many people would have said the same thing about Google. We don't need another search engine. We have AltaVista, Open Text, Infoseek, Magellan, Yahoo and Excite. These popular search engines have changed, been bought out by others or folded. There is a good chance that over the next 10 years Google will be an also ran.

What's Different About Cuil?

Some of the things that Cuil brings to the search engine marketplace "is organized and relevant results based on Web page content analysis." Google does a lot of link analysis to determine their page rank algorithm. Cuil depends less on linking analysis and more on page content analysis.

Cuil's team includes Anna Patterson from Google where she "was the architect of the company's large search index and led a Web page ranking team." Anna's husband Tom Costello researched and developed search engines at Standford University and IBM.

Along with other former Google employee, Russell Power, they believe they have built a "more efficient yet richer search engine from the ground up." Plus, everyone is raving about their privacy policy which doesn't collect searcher's personal data and searching habits.

Early Release Bugs???

I found that when I first tried to go to the FAQ, About us and News pages, I received a page not found error. Then I tried it a few more times, and finally on the 4th or 5th time they delivered the page as requested. I even tried a search on "variegated fallopia" expecting a listing of sites offering information about the perennial plant fallopia. Instead I received a search error message. They definitely are still in the early stages of the business and are experiencing growing pains.

Not Ready for Prime Time

I don't know if Cuil is ready for prime time. But, I always like young competing companies hungrily trying to bring down the big dogs like Google. So, I hope that Cuil is able to deliver on their promise to be different and to give us relevant results. Hopefully, their results will include your blog and my site.

Stumble It!
Success is Achieved by doing the fundamentals - Are you happy with the results. Did we get the number of visitors we wished for? Did our visitors click on revenue producing links and ads? Were our page views up for the year or down? Did users visit more than one page? Did they make it to the order form and then abandon or did they continue and purchase our products?

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