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July 28, 2008


Cuil.com is the latest of the new search engines. It's pronounced "cool", just in case you need to know.

The point is that it indexes many more pages than Google or any other engine: the ex-Googlers who run it say that they're indexing 120 billion pages rather than the mere 40 billion that Google does.

One thought is that while there may indeed be 120 billion pages, are there actually 120 billion interesting ones?

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 www.cuil.com that the company claims can index, faster and more cheaply, a far larger portion of 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.


Hmm, does that mean we'll have to change our keyword techniques? Hope not, it took long enough to learn these ones.

The search engine wars are heating up again with the public launch tonight  of Cuil (pronounced "cool").

The Menlo Park start-up behind the website, at  www.cuil.com, isn't trying to be a Google killer -- it's trying to reinvent search, said Anna Patterson, president and co-founder of Cuil.

She's an ex-Googler, the architect of the Web giant's TeraGoogle search index that launched in 2006. She joined Google in 2004 after her work on Recall, then the largest search engine with 12 billion pages, which she began programming during a difficult pregnancy. That feat spurred a bidding war among search engines for her services. (Note to moms: Microsoft does not allow breast-feeding in its lobby.)

As exciting as her three years at Google were, Patterson said she soon discovered she was an entrepreneur at heart.

The results are shown rather differrently too:

Cuil's search results may seem like a major departure for anyone used to Google's 10 blue links. Rather than showing results in a single column, Cuil displays them in several columns across the page, along with more lengthy snippets of text and thumbnail photographs related to the query.

To narrow their queries, users can click on automatically generated categories that appear on the results page.

Google's relevancy relies on its PageRank algorithm, which gauges the importance of a Web site based on the quality of Web sites linking to it. Cuil, however, looks only at the contents of individual Web pages - analyzes the concepts and context - without considering the links to those pages.

The strategy helps eliminate the problem of search engine spam, whereby sites game the system by linking to one another. Whether it opens the door to creating its own problems by giving preference to sites that are themselves spam remains to be seen.

Ah, yes, we are going to have to relearn keyword techniques. Sigh.

The full Cuil.com press release is here.

A little bit of testing shows that cuil.com has no entries at all for the search "worstall" while Google has 233,000. A little bit of a fail there I think.

July 28, 2008 in Search Engines | Permalink


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Just did a search for our business name and four pages on the front page came up with our logo. Three were not ours. The 'words' of our company name were on the sites but they were not about us.

Posted by: Michelle Herrin | Jul 29, 2008 12:05:28 AM

I don't care about what is published on the net about CUIL. What I want is just to find out something with the aid of CUIL, and I don't know where to ask my question. It's like trying to find out a needle in a hay field. Thanks for the tip. What does URL, above mentioned, mean ?

Posted by: jychatillon | Jul 30, 2008 6:03:12 PM

They should have gone with http://www.Coil.com/ instead of Cuil.com

Coil.com is:
- Easy to pronounce
- Easy to spell
- Catchy
- Short
- Memorable

It would have also been a good idea to have a Alpha and Beta stage before launching the search engine to the general public. Public expectations for search engines is much higher now than it was 10 years ago.

Posted by: Dave | Jul 30, 2008 10:59:31 PM