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New Search Engine from Clever Search People

July 29, 2008

Cuil Logo Let’s kick off the fresh start to this stale blog with the news from across the Internet that some people who used to work for the search and advertising giant Google, have gone on to start up their own search engine.

Cuil, which other sites make a point of letting you know is pronounced ‘cool’ and is apparently an old Irish word for knowledge. Cuil will no-doubt be seen as an up-coming contender to rival Google because of the team behind it. Cuil’s founders are Tom Costello and Anna Patterson, a husband and wife team whose histories consist of significant search-technology experience. Anna Patterson, along with Russell Power (VP of Engineering and Founder) and Louis Monier (VP of Products), have come from Google to make Cuil a success.

The way Cuil is supposed to differ isn’t just the number of pages indexed and results, as the index isn’t fully established, but the relevance of results. Cuil can work out the different meanings behind a search, the example given on their FAQs page is for jaguar: would that be the car, the cat or the operating system? The results of these homophones and concepts are separated into tabs. This will allow users to select the appropriate tab to ‘drill down’ into their search results, rather than editing the search to specify just cats for example: jaguar -car -operating -system +cat. The results of searches are also displayed in columns, one can choose between two or three columns from an easily accessible link in the bottom right corner of the screen rather than buried in a preferences page, the same applies for the Safe Search option in the top right corner on any results page.

Another perk of using Cuil, for those concerned about requests from certain authorites for site visitor logs,  is that Cuil doesn’t keep any information on their users’ search activities.

 

Cuil Search ResultsA quick test shows that while Cuil hasn’t indexed as much of the Internet as Google (either that or it is showing more relevant results), it does come up with the goods in some…and not-some cases.

A search for ‘techstatic’, the name of this not-very-popular-blog, has been around for a year or so and should feature in Google, which it does but does it appear in Cuil?

Cuil: 233 results
Google: 808
MSN: 41,500,000 (?!?!?)

While MSN claimed it had a whopping 41.5million results, of the first page results, ten in total, seven were relevant with the reference to techstatic being in the domain, site title, text on the page and in the file name. The remainder of the results were from tech and static appearing separately on the sites somewhere.

Of Google’s first 10 results on the first page, all were relevant to the word techstatic. The first few results that had priority had techstatic in the domain name, following that were results where techstatic appeared in the page title and finally results where techstatic appeared on the page.

Cuil: The first page in three column layout displayed 11 results. The first was a Zlio shop with the subdomain techstatic. Another two results refer to the Zlio shop also but not once does techstatic.net come up, neither do any other pages with techstatic in their titles. It looks like techstatic.net hasn’t been indexed yet but the techstatic backup blog at wordpress.com has been indexed, although this didn’t appear in the first ten pages of results!

Give it some time, Cuil might be the go-to search engine Google used to be during the early days of search, especially if you are looking for something when Google’s results may be full of solutions from popular sites requiring membership (Experts Exchange, anybody?).

Cuil, Ars-Technica

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