Cuil — not that cool, for me at least

Cuil Homepage

Maybe you’ve heard about the “next generation” search engine, visit this brought to you by the people who designed Google? The new search engine, called Cuil (pronounced “cool”), debuted yesterday, and in my opinion, it didn’t live up to the hype.

What was the hype? Cuil claims that it indexes far more web pages than does Google, but I don’t know that I  believe them. My first search in Cuil was a vanity search for my own name, Paul Pehrson. I was intrigued by the results window, which puts results in three columns with more information about each search result, but my blog, and my writing portfolio were noticibally absent from the results. There were lots of things that talked about me, but not my websites. I even did a search on site:paulpehrson.com and found no results, so Cuil simply isn’t indexing my site, which is being indexed by all the four major search engines.

Cuil reportedly got in excess of 30 million dollars in venture capital funding (pretty good, in today’s economy), but the results don’t feel as relevant to me (but I’m biased because my main presence on the web has been excluded). TIME published an article today that reports that Cuil had so many visitors yesterday that Cuil’s servers crashed, returning no results for a time. They also report the following:

Cuil has a distinctive, if old-fashioned, approach to indexing websites. Instead of ranking them based on popularity, as Google does, it focuses on the content of each page. That may make sense in theory — after all, the most popular restaurants, for example, rarely serve the best food — but it is precisely the model that Google broke away from in order to give users more relevant results. That could explain why a Cuil search on “insomnia” directs the user to the American Insomnia Association rather than to the Wikipedia entry on the subject pulled up first by most other search engines.

And I’m not the only detractor. Here is a list of headline articles today:

That’s not to say that there aren’t some benefits to Cuil. The interface is clean. I like the results layout. TIME reports that Cuil’s privacy policy will make privacy rights groups very happy. But all that isn’t enought to get me to use a search engine unless I can trust the search results to be complete and relevant.

So it’s back to Google for me. Cuil just didn’t cut it. Makes you feel a little sorry for the investors, doesn’t it?

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One Response to Cuil — not that cool, for me at least

  1. Susan September 4, 2008 at 1:30 am #

    I tried the same thing too and the results were a bunch of Twitter pages, of which none are mine.

    I like the 3 column search results though. Somehow that seems more readable.

    Another cool search engine (though not very good results) is http://www.searchme.com/.

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