Posted July 28, 2008 10:19 am by with 27 comments

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If you thought it strange that Google would all of a sudden start talking about the size of its search index again, today we know why.

The stealthy start-up search engine launched last night with both arms swinging, and Google in its sights. Cuil’s “about us” page makes the bold claim:

Cuil searches more pages on the Web than anyone else—three times as many as Google and ten times as many as Microsoft.

But, that’s not the only attack Cuil is making. The new search engine claims to be better than Google et al in a number of ways, including:

  • More than just PageRank – Cuil claims to rank pages based upon content and relevance, not just inbound links.
  • Refined searching – Cuil offers searchers both “Explore by Category” panels–with useful information related to your search–and “Tabs” that help you clarify and refine your search.
  • Privacy – Cuil claims, “…we do not collect any personally identifiable information, period. We have no idea who sends queries: not by name, not by IP address, and not by cookie. Your search history is your business, not ours.”

What are Cuil’s chances?

If you want an in-depth review of Cuil’s chances, I suggest you read what Danny Sullivan has to say. For those of you who prefer the “just give me the bottom line” approach, here goes.

Size – Yes, the size of a search engine’s index has little to do with the quality of the results. We all know that. But, the average Joe doesn’t. If Google let’s Cuil get away with continual messaging that includes “we’re three times larger than Google,” your sister, aunt, parents will all be impressed by that claim.

Privacy – This is a dark cloud over Google’s head. Has Google become big brother? Does it know too much? If Cuil can keep on at that message, then it might win users who would prefer to keep their searches private.

Display – Take a look at Cuil’s search results. They look more like the homepage of a news web site. That three-column approach looks clumsy right now–compared to Google’s clean interface–but it’s different. When Google launched, it gained much ground because its display was different than others. Cuil could gain popularity just because it offers a fresh view of the web.

One small snag.

I tested Cuil’s search results and sure, it can find the important stuff. But, considering it’s supposed to be 3X the size of Google, why couldn’t it find my own web site? A search for Trackur found many references, but not the actual web site–which has been live for more than six months now.

Perhaps the most embarrassing thing for Cuil, is that it couldn’t even find its own pages. I clicked on a “Our Philosphy” link and was greeted with this error.

Let’s hope that’s not an omen of things to come. 😉

  • Yes, it was pretty unimpressive. I was surprised given they had a release on WSJ today. I don’t feel they came out swinging at all.

    Christien’s last blog post..Obama and McCain 2008 – Who Cares???

  • Well, I was pleased to see that we have a possible alternative option to Google… but local search is where I’m at. South Africa that is. Google is still the only engine to offer that. Sadly even the local engines can’t offer a result as good as Google’s. Despite this, when looking for non-area specific info I still use 🙂

  • Aside from the odd look of the interface, I was actually pretty impressed with this new search engine. It was fast and clean and, given some time, will definitely get its indexing (and page locations) in order. I like at least having another option aside from the big G and M.

  • We didn’t find any results for “ann arbor real estate blogs”

    Missy Caulk’s last blog post..Ann Arbor # 1 for Retirement and Healthy Living

  • When will companies learn that you have to be ready for your launch or you get hosed in the media/blogs because something doesn’t work.

  • My 7 year old website that ranks pretty good on Google was no where to be found on Cuil’s search results.

    It also seemed to be a little slower than Google.

    When I searched for just geeksonsteroids I got a lawnmower site that has nothing to do with geeks or steroids and to make it worst it was a made for AdSense website.

    This is not a Google killer for sure.

  • sheppy

    The BBC Tech blog didn’t put up a great review either… I did a few searches for sites that I’m involved with but really did not get anything decent. One site for a prominent keyword which ranks 2 in Google doesn’t even feature…

    Also, it says 400,000 pages found for search results, but I can never get past page 3 no matter how many pages in the paginator… probably just a glitch for now.

  • ant can`t compare with elephant best luck cuil

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  • Google rivals can keep coming out, but they have to realize no matter how “cooler” they search product is you need to have people actually using it to matter.

    Jaan Kanellis’s last blog post..TBPR Updating and Penalties Being Removed by Google

  • Not a good start, that’s for sure. You would think that Cuil would do a trial run without everyone looking at the site. I can’t seem to get the navigation bar to work for me. Let’s hope that these matters are growing pains only.

    Matt Keegan’s last blog post..By: Matthew Keegan – MyBlogLog

  • Dean


    I searched for “hollow rhetoric” on Cuil and found their “Our Philosphy” link 😉

  • LMAO @dean – I knew it had to be somewhere. 😉

  • There does seem to be a few bugs to work out. If yahoo and microsoft can’t over take Google there has to be a reason besides good search results…. It’s become an everyday reference. Tivo doesn’t offer as many options, movies, and space as most DVR systems, yet, you still tivo something, you don’t dvr it???

    It’ll be tough to unseat a verb.

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  • I think the thought process behind this new search engine is good but they have so much work to do if they want to compete with the big boys of search. I searched yesterday 3 times during the day for “search engine optimziation” and it came up with no search results. Before a site starts doing a PR push and promoting in the blogosphere they should make sure their technology works before they do this…otherwise they could have an online reputation issue on their hands…

  • Well, i have one question: is it a coincidence that cuil DOES NOT index any sites which are in cyrillic, for an example? How can you possibly create a search engine which avoids anything but latin alphabet?

    Feodor’s last blog post..Конкурс за фотография на тема „Модерни времена”

  • Singularly unimpressive. As a webmaster for three sites, all of which have existed for 5+ years, Cuil couldn’t find any of them. Whatever else Google may be, they find thousands of sites that Cuil doesn’t seem to. I’ll stick with Google, thank you.

  • Hau

    No search engine like Google, I tried, I did not like it, if I wan to use something beside Google I will use , its a Google search in a friendly interface, it combines all Google features on one page.

  • Well, search engines’ results depend on the amount of time for which their bots have crawled the net. I’m still impressed with the results cuil came up with, given that it was just launched.

    I’d say, give it time. We’re probably in for an interesting duel.

  • Dave

    They should have gone with instead of is:
    – Easy to pronounce
    – Easy to spell
    – Catchy
    – Short
    – Memorable

    Also would have been a great idea to have private Alpha and Beta releases before public launch.

  • @Dave – they should have gone with, but we all know that it’s hard to get a good domain name these days.

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  • I do agree. I tested my several sites as well, which have been indexed by Google, Yahoo and MSN for quite a few months. But they are not shown at Cuil’s search result. I don’t think it is as big as what they said.