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 Trackur.com 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.