One year ago, the search engine Cuil exploded on the launchpad. Hyped as a "Google-killer," the site stumbled as its servers crashed and its algorithms spat out irrelevant search results.
Now, the Menlo Park, CA, startup hopes to stage a comeback in part by being the first search engine to pass search queries through users' social networks to generate socially enhanced search results as a companion to regular ones. If, for example, a user searches for the band Green Day--and if she has allowed Cuil to access her Facebook account or any other social networking account--she'll see a special box on the results page, showing those in her network who like Green Day and similar bands. The feature is expected to go live by the end of August.
Doing this would make the search engine results even less relevant than they were before. This is all assuming that the few people who still use Cuil would let Cuil access their social networking accounts, which they won't.
Cuil has already been branded with Failure. It can't be removed by more gimmicky crap.
I like the fact that the quote in the press release is from their VP of Finance and Biz Dev. These guys so don't get marketing...
"Socially enhanced search results".
I do think it's a huge winner actually, I just don't think the way that Cuil have approached it is right.
I'm all for recommendation engines. I'd go back to Gopher in a heartbeat if I knew the responses it would send me back would be from people that I know (or otherwise trust).
I no longer want instant, I want quality. That saves me a lot more time in the long run. This is typical when you have content that is ever expanding exponentially. Realtime is no longer appropriate.
My advice for anyone wanting to jump into search with an engine at this point is to make it really slow and don't try and be realtime. That's where I think the gap currently is. Google have the former completely stitched up. The next paradigm shift will be a radical variation on what we have now. You'll send out a message and you'll get your search results back within an hour.
And you'll save yourself 2 hours in research time with them.