Moneymanagement’s Weblog

How cool is cuil – a review

Posted in interesting, Internet by moneymanagement on July 28, 2008

A start-up led by former star Google engineers on Sunday unveiled a new Web search service that aims to outdo the Internet search leader in size, but faces an uphill battle changing Web surfing habits.

Cuil Inc (pronounced “cool”) is offering a new search service at http://www.cuil.com that the company claims can index, faster and more cheaply, a far larger portion of the the Web than Google, which boasts the largest online index.

The would-be Google rival says its service goes beyond prevailing search techniques that focus on Web links and audience traffic patterns and instead analyzes the context of each page and the concepts behind each user search request.

For starters, Cuil’s search index spans 120 billion Web pages.

Patterson believes that’s at least three times the size of Google’s index, although there is no way to know for certain. Google stopped publicly quantifying its index’s breadth nearly three years ago when the catalog spanned 8.2 billion Web pages.

Rather than trying to mimic Google’s method of ranking the quantity and quality of links to Web sites, Patterson says Cuil’s technology drills into the actual content of a page. And Cuil’s results will be presented in a more magazine-like format instead of just a vertical stack of Web links. Cuil’s results are displayed with more photos spread horizontally across the page and include sidebars that can be clicked on to learn more about topics related to the original search request.

A quick serch showed that there were around 70% relevant and 30% spam like posts. I liked the design of the sight. It gives you an option of have a three column page view so you don’t have to scroll down

Available at cuil.com, the site tells us in its “about us” section that Cuil is an old Irish word for knowledge, and that if you want knowledge, “ask Cuil”.

All in all, it looks like the most exciting new search engine so far, and if it truly is any good, will give Google the impetus is needs to itself take its own search capabilities into the next dimension – being the biggest and best for too long with no true competition is no good for anyone!

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26 Responses

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  1. Wayne said, on July 28, 2008 at 10:34 am

    Cuil is very neat looking however I can’t shrug the feeling that it is all talk and no action for example I tried to find something out about a tragic fire using cuil, guess what, didn’t have a clue what I was on about, Google on the other hand came up with it straight away plus Cuil can’t even find itself on it’s own search engine (I know it seems a stupid search but hey). So having 120 Billion pages is kind of pointless if you still cannot find what you are looking for, nevertheless if they can fix these problems and become as reliable a search engine as Google (or better) then I would definetly search with them but for the time being I think I will stick with Google.

  2. moneymanagement said, on July 28, 2008 at 10:41 am

    All too true Wayne and this is what the blogging community seem to be saying too. But Hey lets give it a chance maybe there will be improvements coming along.
    Google is great but only with competition can we get a better product
    Shalini

  3. sree said, on July 28, 2008 at 12:43 pm

    the layout/presentation part is good. But the problem is that the core functionality, search that is, is bad.

    did u notice that it can’t find it self?. too many page not found messages. it’s not even as good as the other searches in the market now.

    all this hype of rivaling googe is just a dream. unless they improve the search dramatically.

  4. moneymanagement said, on July 28, 2008 at 1:34 pm

    Yes that seems to be a an issue. The fact that they claim that they have 4 times the web site search than google is also so strange. When I do a google search I am already bogged down by the results – I want better relevance not more results.

  5. Andrew said, on July 28, 2008 at 2:17 pm

    I have found that is has problems with relevance, as well as “depth” of search. I don’t see how this result is any better than a standard boolean result (is keyword “x” in that page?). Also, there was quite a bit of duplicate results.

    The layout isn’t bad, but it should provide options for the user to choose. Some people (myself included) like volume of data over pictures, and I would prefer to “fast scan” down a list of results to find what I’m looking for.

    The other issue is navigation. I did a search, and it showed 4 pages of returned results. I looked over the first page, then hit the “right arrow”. It came back with “No results found.. etc, etc.”. What the…? I hit “back”, then click on “2” for page 2, and it showed up.

    I think this needs quite a bit of work. But even after that, if all they can offer is a fancy magazine-style result page, then Google can easily trump them by adding that as a user-definable preference and put an end to Cuil in one shot.

  6. Gaurav said, on July 28, 2008 at 3:35 pm

    You have become a troll. What with spamming tech blogs. Just stick 2 money management lady.

  7. nerdette said, on July 28, 2008 at 3:37 pm

    I was interested by the “cuil talk”. so I checked it out… the design is ok, but it didn’t display as many entries as google. Worse, I searched for 10 sites (some well known) and didn’t come up with anything! What? For 12 billion sites of what not, NOT impressed at all. I was excited.. but I have to give this a huge thumbs down.

  8. Boston Counseling said, on July 28, 2008 at 3:50 pm

    Completely Agree–I can’t believe that there is all this press, and the search engine is (today anyway) completely useless. IS it broken, or is it really THAT BAD??

  9. Tylor said, on July 28, 2008 at 4:13 pm

    I only compared one thing that is: if the front page gives me the things I want. I have tried 3 searchings. Well the result is Google gave me what I want, but Cuil failed.

    The layout of Cuil is ok to me, but everything else is not ok at all. Do you notice the flickering after loading a new page? It is way too slow.

  10. Curt Granger said, on July 28, 2008 at 4:17 pm

    I emailed them the following:

    I visited cuil.com after reading a news article about it. My thoughts:

    I don’t care for the dark background.

    Site was slow. This will probably change for the better soon enough, but for a search engine site, fast response time is crucial! In the time I waited for the page to load, I opened Google in another browser tab, entered the text for the search, and got results.

    The searches take too long.

    I did a search for my band “citizen jayne” – didn’t even come up on the first page, and our URL is citizenjayne.com. I certainly would not recommend anyone “Cuil” for my band, rather I’d point them to Google – “Do a search for citizen jane band on Google. Oh, and if you spell it wrong, it will still come up.” Not so on cuil.com

    I entered “citizen jayne band on cuil.com” Here’s what I got:

    We didn’t find any results for “citizen jayne band”
    Some reasons might be…

    a typo. Please check your spelling.
    your search includes a term that is very rare. Try to find a more common substitute.
    too many search terms. Please try fewer terms.
    Finally, try to think of different words to describe your search.

    Nonsense! What is that about? No results? Is the site BROKEN?
    Hopefully you’ll take this as constructive critizism and get things worked out.

  11. moneymanagement said, on July 28, 2008 at 4:46 pm

    Cuil has created such an interest that it has been fun writing about it. Though not a techie, I use the internet 7-8 hours a day and search is an integral part of my work. Hence this blog and it has been so interesting to get so many views.
    What I really like about google is that it gives me typo options. Many of us spell wrong when in a hurry, so it is great to be corrected.

  12. KCMunchkin said, on July 28, 2008 at 5:14 pm

    Unfortunately, not impressed. I prefer a white, simple background. The Times New Roman ‘About Us’ page made me think I was reading something on craigslist. I tried Cuil two separate times today and didn’t find my results for an industry association whose site I run, plus there were a number of bad links on the first results pages. My site has tags and I’ve registered it with Google tools, so I well know Google finds it. Also, agreed, it’s a PR flub that the site still doesn’t find itself in a search for ‘cuil.’ Remember how Microsoft had Bill Gates in the MS Word spellchecker? Like ’em or not, that’s part of how you do thorough marketing, folks. An opening day trial of a new search site talked up as a Google alternative was cool in that “it’s the small things in life” kind of way. End result, I’m not impressed. No offense, Cuil. Firefox wasn’t built in a day either, so I’m willing to try again in a few weeks. Best of luck and congrats for going for it.

  13. Gregory Beamer said, on July 28, 2008 at 5:18 pm

    I am currently in a position where I am dealing with executives deciding on a new website based on eye candy. From my experience with Cuil, it is heavy on eye candy and low on both speed and relevance. In some searches, the entire front page is SPAM, where Google yields all good links. My post here (tinyurl.com/5kvlsy).

    Maybe one day this site will be a competitor, but today is not that day.

  14. vivalaGoogle said, on July 28, 2008 at 7:10 pm

    I have to agree with what everyone’s saying. Cuil is way toooo slow. Could care less about the fancy photos. With need more juice out of the results.

  15. askiatek2008 said, on July 29, 2008 at 12:11 am

    Sayin’ and doin’ is two different things. Tried it on several search terms which attract hundreds of items on either Google or Yahoo and it didn’t find anything.

  16. Ilya said, on July 29, 2008 at 12:13 am

    Yeah – Cuil is all over the news today.

    At first I thought that it was a joke, though…

  17. Mandie said, on July 29, 2008 at 12:27 am

    I agree that Cuil isn’t living up to its hype. I find it hard to read the results of the search in that strange format with the columns, and the results don’t seem to be very relevant.

    Hopefully they’ll get some feedback and make some changes, if they want to actually be a rival to google.

  18. mesmermedia said, on July 29, 2008 at 12:37 am

    I am really shocked that after all the hype the search engine simply did not work on several tries.
    How could you go public with a grand launch and not be ready?
    All the news types were really helping these folks get a good start, but I’m afraid you never get a second chance as good as the first one.

  19. suzanacohen said, on July 29, 2008 at 12:37 am

    I agree, Cuil is too slow and doesn’t display as good results as Google… Got the same message: maybe the term is very rare.
    Cuil isn’t that cool, I’d say! *At least for the time being.

  20. hypernation said, on July 29, 2008 at 12:40 am

    A search for Jello Biafra, the former lead singer of the Dead Kennedys, yields a broken link to a Wikipedia Article.

    A search for the newer ex lead singer (less important) yields a successful result.

    Cuil will fold.

  21. […] July 29, 2008 by noshtradamus I was about to write a post on “cuil” (pronounced cool) the new search engine created by former employees of google, when I came upon this post at MoneyManagement’s Weblog. […]

  22. Miljenko Hajdarovic said, on July 29, 2008 at 10:57 am

    Right now Google is still giving much better results than Cuil. But the look is nice!

  23. […] post by AFP and software by Elliott Back Share and Enjoy: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where […]

  24. Alex said, on July 29, 2008 at 3:45 pm

    And if you search for “Jello” all of the recomendations are about Dead Kennedies. Not the food. See my review at http://net-insider.blogspot.com/2008/07/cuil-net-savior.html

  25. knucchi said, on July 29, 2008 at 7:11 pm

    So far, I like the look but MAN is it slow…

  26. mohan said, on July 30, 2008 at 10:56 am

    UI of Cuil.com sucks…very difficult to read blue text in black background……..


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