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Everyone Loves a Google-Killer

Cuil may not be cool – or that stable – but it has certainly caught the attention of the blogosphere.

Who knows if Cuil will become a viable and popular alternative to Google but there’s no doubt people are fascinated with a well-financed search player looking to take on Google. If it’s not Cuil getting people hot and bothered, it’s Powerset or Mahalo or Wikia.

When you’re King Kong – especially one making oodles of dough – it’s not surprise that people are fascinating with potential rivals that look interesting. Cuil is no exception but maybe the main difference is Cuil appears to have come up with a different, if not better, search mousetrap by claiming it has indexed 120 billion Web pages.

If anything, that’s attention-grabbing. But there are still a few key questions:

1. Are the results relevant/useful?

2. Will Cuil be better enough than Google to lure people away?

3. Will Cuil be able to turn a seemingly powerful search engine into a business?

The biggest hurdle is #2. To establish a solid foothold, Cuil needs to be better and/or different than Google – otherwise it will just be another search wannabe. While the initial reaction appears to be mixed, perhaps the pragmatic approach is giving Cuil time to prove itself.

That said, the search engine market is ripe for change. People like new and different so there’s an appetite for a new search engine so people have an alternative to Google. It doesn’t mean Google’s dominance is going to evaporate, it just means Google may not be default for the vast majority of search efforts.

If Cuil can achieve enough of a foothold to encourage other search engine start-ups, that will be a huge accomplishment.

For what it’s worth, here’s what Cuil produced for a search for “Mark Evans” (Yes, it’s a vanity search!). Mark Evans, the artist who has consistently been #2 behind me on Google, is the top-ranked results while my old blog (evans.blogware.com) is second and third. No sign of Mark Evans Tech, however.

Picture 1-99

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  • http://startupcfo.ca Mark MacLeod

    I’m sure we would all love to see a David & Goliath story here – and while despite their “do no evil” motto, I’m sure we’re all a little concerned about GOOG’s increasing footprint into our lives. However, I see only one possible outcome here and it’s not to Cuil’s benefit.

    Mark

    P.S.
    For what it’s worth, the engine just wasn’t working when I tried my own vanity search…

  • http://startupcfo.ca Mark MacLeod

    I’m back. perhaps not everyone wants to see a David & Goliath story. Got this tweet from Rafe Needleman at Webware”

    “Send me your favorite bad Cuil search results! rafe@cnet.com

  • http://saila.com/ Craig Saila

    After failing to find results for “css layouts” on Cuil, I tried a vanity search, too.

    The results were fine, but almost all of the images associated with the entries were wrong and unrelated to the item itself as this screen cap shows: http://flickr.com/photos/csaila/2710333903/

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  • Martyr2

    Cuil is a hyped up and ridiculous search engine. With a supposed 33 million dollar investment backing it, I could have created something better in a month. The only thing it has going for it is the number of indexed pages, but if people can’t even find results to common words and phrases, I have to put that number in serious doubt.

    I tried it it was broke, slow when it did work, gave inaccurate results, and frankly disappointed me on numerous levels.

    I wish the media and bloggers would just leave this one alone. Its the hype of the media that makes this site even stand out against Google.

  • http://winnietehpoohie.deviantart.com/ Win

    Out of curiosity, I tried a search on Cuil for “winnietehpoohie”, which is my account for deviantART. It lists an okay amount that links to other sites that has text with my name in it. But for some reason, most of those links do not link to their respective sites directly but instead to a redirect site, proxy site or something similar. And worst of all, my own profile page isn’t even listed at all, whereas Google has it the first in my search. Though, the layout for Cuil looks quite okay with it’s multiple columns and page numbers at the bottom regardless of window size.

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  • Magnus

    When slaying dragons you need to be quick, nimble and smart, Cuil is none of those.