|I don't know which site to click on. A list is one thing, but they are all jumbled together and I don't know which one will be the best |
This is the main problem I had with it, I don't believe search engine results should be displayed like a magazine or classifieds newspaper section. It should be easily determined which sites are the most relevant.
Changing an algorithm or technique is okay, but reinventing the wheel (especially one that has been tested to death on user behavior) did not need to happen, IMHO.
|4. "I don't know which site to click on. A list is one thing, but they [the sites] are all jumbled together and I don't know which one will be the best [result]" |
The results layout is one of the more interesting features of cuil so far. Do you read it in rows (left to right) or columns (top to bottom)? Undermines the idea of hierarchy somewhat, hence your reviewer's comment that they didn't know which one would be the best result. Presumably users will have to do a bit more work themselves and evaluate based on title, snippet and/or image (once these are provided correctly!). Will that make for a better or worse experience than Google? A few people in this thread have said they like this layout, a few said the opposite. Interesting!
btw - when did Google start using this same grid layout for the 'more sponsored links' results? I only saw it yesterday, after seeing the same layout on Cuil. I presume Google was using this first?
[Edited to say - I was typing as Murdoch posted]
[edited by: quiet_man at 1:43 pm (utc) on July 29, 2008]
Gigablast is 10 times the search engine Cuil is.
It's a shame Gigablast doesn't get any press attention, it's the only independent engine that comes remotely close to the top three (or four if you count ask.com)
They have no intention of beating any search engine. If they really think they can compete with Google, Yahoo, or even MS they are morons. This is like every other startup. They want to be bought.
would it be counter intuitive if I suggest that new products are rarely all they can be straight out of the box?
For the developer, the question is when do you release the product, do you spend years testing knowing fully well that someone somewhere is still going to find fault anyway,
Or do you release when you have a reasonably stable product on which you can progressively develop
Hope they do well
If anything Cuil gives a good idea of how much money, manpower and effort it will take to launch a "rival" to Google. Even if they came up with search results comparable in quality to Google, Live or Yahoo, they're still going to be launching a product that's free to use with no revenue generation. It would take them years to generate the revenue of Live alone.
|new products are rarely all they can be straight out of the box [...] When do you release the product, do you spend years testing knowing fully well that someone somewhere is still going to find fault anyway, or do you release when you have a reasonably stable product on which you can progressively develop |
New products are rarely all they can be straight out of the box. Nobody has a problem with that. Unless you go with bold statements to the media, claiming to be n times bigger than the market leader. Unless you have worked for the market leader. In these cases, the public expects a certain quality of your product (otherwise it would be clear that it's just hype and nothing else). They expect certain standard procedures to be followed prior to the launch (e.g. alpha/beta testing, load tests, usability tests, focus groups etc. etc.). The public is only mildly interested to act as a guinea pig and act as real life test for a mediocre product that got slapped together in a couple of days.
Key learning from uncuil cuil: if you can't deliver, then don't be surprised that people are disappointed and yell "hype!". Then I would suggest to not launch until you have a product that can fulfil basic product promises.
Don't get me wrong. I wish for a Google competitor more than anyone else, but this is not it. And these guys have made it even harder for other startups to kick Google off the throne. (Then again, maybe this was their intention?)
|If anything Cuil gives a good idea of how much money, manpower and effort it will take to launch a "rival" to Google. |
If anything Cuil gives a good idea that it takes a PR blitz and product that is basically OK to turn around the people. I was surprised by the level of attention they received from the media (OK, mostly due to the bold statements that circulated) and the desire by users/webmasters to try something new in the search engine market.
Google won this one, but the next time it might not go as smoothly. Remember - Google is just a website. The next competitor is just a click away.
|Give the folks at Cuil some time. They have the money, the staff, and the tech to get this right. |
Then they should start on renaming it to something people can pronounce and won't have to spell to someone if they recommend it to them although that won't happen for a long time based on the results I saw.
That's the problem with a lot PHD thinkers, they over think stuff and in this case they over thought the name.
With 33 million, they could of at least bought a catchy domain name.
I don't see this engine being the next Google rival anymore than all the others out there.
Had they not worked for Google, their launch would of probably not even made foot notes on any news outlet. They blew it big time by launching a very sub standard product and now they won't get that type of press coverage again.
Yes, I think the reaction of the general public and their willingness to try a new search engine immediately is very telling - and should be very worrying for Google. If cuil had been revolutionary, they could have taken a noticeable portion of Google's traffic in just a few short weeks. As dominant as Google is, as much money as they make, there entire business can vapourize in a month or two.
It's also too bad cuil didn't have ads running. I and many others would likely have bought ads if only for the initial rush.
I have no idea what it is or what it means but the result for "tarphoid" came up in one of my searches. There's 12,000 pages for it. Of - weirdness. Google properly terminates it after two levels.
Also Cuil is showing weird images next to my results which have nothing to do with the page, site or anything I can think of. One image was for a tire company?
If it was easy to get better results than Google (i.e. simply a better algorithm or a new fangled way of displaying search results) Yahoo and MSN have the brains and money to do it. They can't do it and I don't see how a start-up can do it. But if you want to invest in a startup go ahead, i'll invest in lottery tickets. :)
|That's the problem with a lot PHD thinkers, they over think stuff and in this case they over thought the name. |
Indeed, what really scares me is that a couple of years ago they were Cuill but decided that Cuil would be better.
Not been terribly impressed to see a picture of someone who shares my name next to my site when I search for myself.
I was impressed to see one of my sites pull in 25 visitors from cuil yesterday. Sadly I would guess all 25 read this forum! ;)
Arn't the barriers to entry simply too high today - what do you need to match googles infrastructure?
What idiot at Cuil came up with the idea of displaying images from other websites next to a search result? In most cases it is not only wrong, it is also a big problem because these pictures are coming from other websites -- when I put a picture on my website it has a relationship with everything else on the website. I do not want some random image being associated with my website.
If this had been stated as being from a bunch of "former MS" or "former Yahoo" engineers, would it have even gotten a second look?
I work in three industries.
The first page results are utter garbage for one industry, all the top domains are garbage urls in the form of jshgfuegfeurjhgkgyfrefgwerfge.com
The second industry has wikipedia pages for the first 7 results. The third industry is similar to MSN.
"What idiot at Cuil came up with the idea of displaying images from other websites next to a search result"
I'm pretty upset by the fact that my images are being used to promote other websites. Isn't this a blunt copyright violation and content theft?
I clicked on one of the images (one of my images) and got redirected to a site that tried to install spyware. This is even worse: my images related to spyware and my business possibly damaged because of this crappy search engine!
I would love to hear a lawyer's opinion about all this.
|Indeed, what really scares me is that a couple of years ago they were Cuill but decided that Cuil would be better. |
They've learned from their mistakes, and they can repeat them exactly.
|A few people in this thread have said they like this layout, a few said the opposite. |
It was absolutely essential that they present a totally different look than Google, so going with black and the "magazine" format did that in a way that made a distinct impression. Had they used the same old same old vertical hierarchy, they'd be accused of being a second rate Google knockoff. So whether we -- the webmaster community -- like the format or not, to the average user they do in fact stand out as being different.
And as we all know, getting people's attention is a good first step on the road to success.
As Brett said, given their experience and funding they can presumably fix most of the problems with their current algo (especially the wrong image issue), but they'd better do it sooner rather than later. There may be a second act, but there's not a third.
The gigantic problem is having launched with one of the worst domain names imaginable. Now that they're "out there" with all this press, they almost can't take that back. HUGE mistake that might be fatal -- a real shame, because it was so easily avoidable.
|So whether we -- the webmaster community -- like the format or not, to the average user they do in fact stand out as being different. |
That could be a problem in itself. If users have ingrained expectations about what search results should look like, giving them a different interface may not be a brilliant idea. (I can think of some early ported-over-to-Windows applications that didn't embrace the Windows interface, to their detriment and regret. People who are used to pigs don't want lipstick on a pig: They just want the pig.)
Searched on my current employer's name, our web site came back showing a rival's logo!
The image problem is beyond a joke. They should kill the image displays until:
1. They can display the correct urls for all results
2. They can be sure of showing the right images.
Maybe they should show screen shots rather than trying to identify which image on a page is most representative.
|It was absolutely essential that they present a totally different look than Google, so going with black and the "magazine" format did that in a way that made a distinct impression. Had they used the same old same old vertical hierarchy, they'd be accused of being a second rate Google knockoff. So whether we -- the webmaster community -- like the format or not, to the average user they do in fact stand out as being different. |
I think the results layout is more than just a stylistic quirk, it ties in with what they seem to be trying - and failing, at the moment - to do. It's more of a browsing experience than a pinpointing exercise. Google's hierarchical results say 'this is the best result for your search, and this is the second best, and this the third', etc. That's great if Google accurately interprets and reflects the user's intent. But what if the user wasn't quite certain of exactly what they want? Cuil tries to anticipate this firstly by auto suggesting all the related search terms, and secondly by presenting a 'magazine' format results page where the user has to browse to find the result that most matches their intent (instead of being told which one is 'best'). Google itself has been offering 'related search' suggestions for a while, but Cuil takes this to a new level. And Google has also introduced the magazine / grid results format on its 'more sponsored links' results page. Remember too that Google's hierarchical list display has been used for years whereas the Cuil grid layout is far better suited to today's browser resolutions and screen sizes (more results above the fold).
|The gigantic problem is having launched with one of the worst domain names imaginable. Now that they're "out there" with all this press, they almost can't take that back. HUGE mistake that might be fatal -- a real shame, because it was so easily avoidable. |
For all their resources I just cannot fathom the domain name thing. Cuill.xx.xx is still available for some international tlds. They don't seem to have got the .co.uk versions of cuil or cuill either. Nor the misspelling ciul.com.
Anyone noticed the direct links that now appear in the auto-suggestion menu? Top of the list, with a blue background. Are these adverts? They weren't there yesterday. Try searching for 'business'.
|If users have ingrained expectations about what search results should look like, giving them a different interface may not be a brilliant idea. |
Maybe, maybe not -- if there's one thing that consumers like, it's the "new and improved" label. It will be interesting to read if anyone does a "usability" survey/study for Cuil in the next month, to see how the average person (not webmasters) respond. Given how many people use search queries every day, all they need is a reasonable percentage of satisfied users, and you're looking at a ton of potential traffic.
(I'm just talking about format & layout -- it goes without saying that the results must also be accurate and people must be able to find them!)
|For all their resources I just cannot fathom the domain name thing. |
1. The theory that they are just setting up to get a good price for their technology; looks like Google didn't bite 'cuill', so 'cuil' is up for grabs by M$
2. Or my theory that they are making cock-ups with this name, in order to get the 'real' launch, with a new name, a little less flawed. Or was that 'floored'?
My sites appear to be indexed pretty well. I do not like the way the results are displayed. The logos and images that display next to the listings are far from accurate. My logo showing next to a site that links to me, how is that useful?
Some queries return some good results, while others return errors or sites I would not expect to see in the top 10 or 20.
[edited by: MadeWillis at 5:08 pm (utc) on July 29, 2008]
|I'm pretty upset by the fact that my images are being used to promote other websites. Isn't this a blunt copyright violation and content theft? |
I would think so and if it continues I will be doing something about it!
My information based website is always near the top for the most important keywords and phrases. It is nowhere to be seen in these results, which proves how poor they are but they have picked up all of my images and used them to illustrate my commercial competitors websites.
Some people have asked if this is a joke well I ain't laughing! This is copyright theft of the most blatant type and they had better do something about it - quick!
To you Cuil people who will obviously be reading this what are you playing at? Do you know anything at all about copyright infringement?
YOU ARE INFRINGING MINE!
Just tried quick search re a major city/territory - see if any more of my photos slapped on results for other sites.
One of top results was to an airline that started up to challenge the big boys, got a lot of publicity, and went bust
cuil algorithm (assuming there is one!) finding a soulmate?
Anyone noticed re article saying different computers or whatever are supposed to know of different things, like sport etc? As cuil gets busier, they may shut down, so results worsen.
A novel feature, then, could be a bar showing how busy cuil is; the busier, the more appalling the results.
That is, providing that the poor thing isn't suffering "excessive load".
Any KewlGuy started here yet? Or still at scuil for search.
|They refused to accept the limitations of current search technology and dedicated themselves to building a more comprehensive search engine. |
Ya, and now we know why they are not at Google anymore.
I am seeing quite a bit of negative press, and even a Time article on how Cuil poses no threat to G.
signor_john summed it up well earlier in this thread when he asked "Are users clamoring for alternatives to Google?"
|...and even a Time article on how Cuil poses no threat to G. |
No! You (they) don't say! ;)
Like I mentioned before, this is just like all the other hyped Google killers and iPhone killers.
The service or product that will unseat these two from their perches will not come around with a bullhorn. It will have to happen quietly, and take (most) everyone by surprise.