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.
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