Monday, March 23, 2009

How Cool is Cuil?

When you go online and search, do you in fact search? Or do you “Google?” In the same way you don’t blow your nose with a tissue, you use a “Kleenex,” Google has cleaned house and outed the non-branded “search” from our webcabularies.

You may be interested to know that there is a new engine out there trying to change that.

Meet “Cuil.”

Cuil is the self-proclaimed “world’s largest search engine.” Cuil prides itself on being a search engine that searches 10x more web pages than Microsoft and 3x more web pages than Google.


Aside from searching more, Cuil claims they also search better. Instead of relying on “superficial popularity metrics,” Cuil ranks pages based on content and relevance, as they state “when we find a page with your keywords, we stay on that page and analyze the rest of its content, its concepts, their inter-relationships and the page’s coherency.”

It is for this reason the Cuil results are different. Based on what they find as they “stay on your pages,” and conduct their magic, they provide helpful choices and recommendations for what you see on your results screen.

And they serve up results differently. Cuil brings you a different orientation, not relying on the vertical alone, but spanning into the horizontal realm. Their results layout was inspired by their belief that “ten blue links is a simple concept which fails to reflect the huge diversity and variety of information available to you on the Web.”

Cuil’s “Philosophy” is based on the following four ideas:
1. Size matters
2. Popularity is useful, but not always important
3. Organization is fundamental
4. Analyze the web, not the users

And Cuil brings you PICTURES! So is Cuil, cool?

… I’m not so sure.

First, I will address their third point: “Organization is fundamental.”

Whether you realize it or not, when we “search,” we are accustomed to scanning results vertically, typically with a set number of 10 organic results per page. We have also become aware of where sponsored and PPC results are placed. Google has produced a comfortable and familiar search results experience. Cuil is, for better or for worse, tampering with what we have been bottle-fed throughout our search engin-fancy.

Next, Cuil also claims that images will help illustrate the ideas behind the pages. Interestingly, I have conducted many-a-Cuil searches, and discovered a multitude of improperly associated images. Now just what are you illustrating by a strangely-oriented group of search results with inaccurate, unrelated images? To add, I have also conducted searches and uncovered families of not so cool bugs that have crashed my searches entirely.

Maybe just a little too much too soon Cuil. I am all for experimenting with search engines and crafting new ways to serve up content online, but I just think that perhaps before the bold claims, and the construction of a pedestal higher than Google; you should resolve some of the more-overarching, and detrimental flaws in the world’s self-proclaimed BIGGEST SEARCH.