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Massive Cuil Search Engine Launched

"World's Largest Search Engine" is the claim

     
4:43 am on Jul 28, 2008 (gmt 0)

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SAN FRANCISCO — In her two years at Google, Anna Patterson helped design and build some of the pillars of the company’s search engine, including its large index of Web pages and some of the formulas it uses for ranking search results.
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The makers of the Cuil search engine say it should provide better results and show them in a more attractive manner.

Now, along with her husband, Tom Costello, and a few other Google alumni, she is trying to upstage her former employer.

On Monday, their company, Cuil, is unveiling a search engine that they promise will be more comprehensive than Google’s and that they hope will give its users more relevant results.

[nytimes.com...]

2:09 pm on July 28, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Nah, don't like it much.

Which of course is excellent demographic input, isn't it?

Makes search results look like a female oriented magazine.

Maybe so. Maybe it should instead look like the Silicon Valley Jocks Joint and just leave the feminine glitz to Oprah (and Live and Yahoo Search, who are more than willing to accommodate it).

I guess they didn't plan for the initial rush of traffic.

You're probably right. Betcha Anna's DH didn't realize that "er indoors" was so much of an IR Rock Star that this announcement would pound their server down to its knees.
2:10 pm on July 28, 2008 (gmt 0)

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before inviting the mass media you have to

test test test

everything until it works.

there won't be a Times article titled 'after two weeks, Cuil got its act together'

...

but... who knows. perhaps there will be.

2:18 pm on July 28, 2008 (gmt 0)

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do not like the results layout.
there is more to read on one page of their search results than a statistical human reads within 1 year!
2:20 pm on July 28, 2008 (gmt 0)

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It looks like they're off to a good start. Glad to see another competitor in search.
2:21 pm on July 28, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Lots of broken links to external sites, but even worse, lots of broken links to internal pages, including, in places, their own style sheet.

Not impressed so far.

2:23 pm on July 28, 2008 (gmt 0)

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WOW. Lots of press on this. Top of Drudge among others. Bugs yes. Results mixed.
2:25 pm on July 28, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Can't find major websites, wrong pictures associated with a website, too many results from one website for a term.....

It is great for anyone to aim high but when a company says that they want to fight with Google, they are just looking for cheap publicity.

I feel sorry for Cuil investors for investing in such a lousy search engine.

Yet another opportunity lost for providing an alternative to Google.

2:26 pm on July 28, 2008 (gmt 0)

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They're showing the wrong screenshots for URLs returned - they don't accurately match the URLs/sites/pages they're next to.
2:30 pm on July 28, 2008 (gmt 0)

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The questions that I have are:

1) Is it scalable?

2) Are users clamoring for alternatives to Google?

2:31 pm on July 28, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Let's hope they get things straightened out and start an ad network. Would love to see some competition to overpriced adwords ads.
2:37 pm on July 28, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Google. Easy to pronounce. Easy to repeat. Easy to get word-of-mouth exposure.

Agreed. I think the name is horrible. You will have to spell it every time your tell someone about it. Bad for branding, IMO.

2:41 pm on July 28, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Iron out these glitches and I think non-tech users will love it. It is clear to read, easy to understand - has great tabs and suggestion features to refine your search in layman terms.

Don't underestimate the people behind this technology and what they just may do.

But marketing it is going to be tough - Google is a tough act to try and trump.

2:43 pm on July 28, 2008 (gmt 0)

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They need to get some experts on-board to improve the layout and the usability of the SERPs. That is what should be number one priority after fixing the mess with wrong pics that are being displayed.

Overall the results are looking good for the upstart. Of course we can't compare a rookie business with the team currently working at Google.

2:44 pm on July 28, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Next Google or not, all they will get from my site is 403 denied till they drop "twiceler" from their user agent:

"Mozilla/5.0 (Twiceler-0.9 [cuill.com...]

Also you would have thought a company with such potential would have IP records in their own name:

64.1.215.ccc is XO Comm.
38.99.44.ccc is PSI

2:44 pm on July 28, 2008 (gmt 0)

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A bit slow but that is probably to be expected today.
I tested a couple of searches. One returned the image from an affiliate marketing link with the results. With G Widgets in Elbonia and Elbonia Widgets won't produce the same results but they normally come within a couple of places of each other. On my site one form came top while the converse didn't reach the first page.

Tried another search. My site came in with different pages at 1,3,4,6,8,9. The top result had an image that is nothing to do with my site.

2:49 pm on July 28, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Had a closer look at their results to validate my first impression (which was "okayish").

Well. Not so good.

"4 days in Widgetcity"
Cuil finds lots and lots of eBay listings for tickets. Tickets? No travel guides? No hotel sites?

"Aerial view of Widgetville"
No results. Huh? The biggest index? Er, no. Not yet.

"Superhotelname golf hotel somewhereisland"
OK. Very few results. My site is at #2 (or is that #4?). Even the right picture next to it. Good.

"sleepytown italien"
OK. They show two entries from my sites, fair enough. One would be better, though.

"popularfestival faq"
Okayish. Almost. A lot of identical/similar articles, many of them coming from the official site for the popularfestival. My site nowhere to be found.

"Photos of wondertown italy"
So-so results, with several photos from Arizona? And some hotel sites advertising hotels in wondertown, that show off photos of the hotel rooms. The pages bar announces "10" result pages, yet there are no results beyond page 2. Gasp.

Nah, Cuil is surprisingly Uncuil today and certainly not a Google competitor anytime soon. Reviewers will have a good time dragging the search engine through the dirt, while at the same time pointing out the marvels of Google once more.

2:53 pm on July 28, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I'm getting spam galore on my search results. Trying category with geo searches and the 5 different ones I tried are all spammed/scraped content pages. I know this is their first go so I'll definitely be watching this in the future.

Would love to see another player in the mix and I'll be rooting for them.

2:54 pm on July 28, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I'm not impressed. The interface is ugly. I don't like multiple columns in the SERPs. How do they make any money? No ads or anything.

My pages don't display when searched by content - one of the suposed pluses of this new "innovation".

They have a lot of work to do before they are up to par with Google (like G's comprehensive suite of web aps). I'm curious as to what language/platform Cuil uses.

Google does need some competition, but Cuil isn't that competiton. At least not yet. We'll see what happens.

2:55 pm on July 28, 2008 (gmt 0)

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They have a long way to go.

Images don't match the company in the result and the results are pretty bad.

They have a very long way to go and indexing billions of pages isn't going to make them good unless they can actually present those in some good results when searched upon. Right now, they missed it by a mile.

2:58 pm on July 28, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Not gonna lie, I really think cuil sucks.

Results are not any where near good, they can't keep up with demand and as a search engine provider they should be able to do that.

They say they have so many sites indexed yet not one of my sites are indexed.

Granted they are just starting out but still they should be able to provide at least decent results and I just don't see that at all.

3:06 pm on July 28, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Mozilla/5.0 (Twiceler-0.9 [cuill.com...]

In July, they crawled less than 1% of my total pages. And they claim to have indexed how many pages? 121,617,892,992? Bull.

Makes me wonder, WHY is it that they failed on so many frontiers?

1) Not scalable (clearly).
2) Wrong images (impossible that they have not noticed during their tests).
3) Bad layout (again, end consumer testing would have quickly revealed that).

How can it happen that a startup in 2008 with good funding can't launch a decent service?

3:08 pm on July 28, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Their "about" link doesn't seem to work and it doesn't seem to be handling spelling mistakes (I typed in "deadorant").

The benchmark really seems to be Google, I know that in IR tests that's always a good way to see how your system is doing. The results aren't even really worth comparison right now.

I really like how the results are displayed though, i like the category tab on the right, and think it offeres really relevant options. And it is contextual search. WSD is used in just about every NLP system (just we don't all do it the same way), as is keyword co-occurance, if you want to have a go try Ted Pedersen's tool, in fact all his tools are cool :)

A little bold of me maybe, but I think Cuil should have the word "beta" in their logo.

[edited by: Misscj at 3:09 pm (utc) on July 28, 2008]

3:10 pm on July 28, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Awful results quality. I searched for my own site (which has a fairly specific name) and got nothing but scraper sites copying my content. My own site isn't even in the index! :-(

[edited by: gibbergibber at 3:12 pm (utc) on July 28, 2008]

3:12 pm on July 28, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Tried some more searches, this time on a personal site at my ISP. For some reason Cuil omitted the www on most of the URLs. As the ISP in question doesn't provide for redirects these all came up as 404s so I guess they must have altered the addresses after spidering.

I don't like the way it returns multiple pages from the same site. (well I do when its my site, if they could get address right that is). The private site is a photo gallery of music festivals that I visit. Search on a festival and a separate result comes back for each photo.

3:18 pm on July 28, 2008 (gmt 0)

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This is a great development.

But i think we should support them .

Absolutely, its very exciting to see someone really take a stab at this.

After all you're asking people to switch from Google to something brand new. Why would they?

Because its different.

Cuil (pronounced COOL)

So why didn’t they just call it cool.com and buy that domain, its just a MFA site, whoever these guys are they could find the money to buy it. These guys definitely need marketing help. A BLACK screen? You gotta be kidding.

They should have been better prepared for the launch, that's for sure...

Big time, people are going to get very turned off by how poorly its performing right now. In fact all I’m getting now is; “We didn’t find any results for”

Despite all the problems, poor performance and incredible marketing mistakes, I’m far more interested in, and optimistic about this than any incremental improvements MSN or Yahoo might make.

Already the sand is slipping through the hour glass for them, but heres to hoping they can right the ship, and fast.

3:20 pm on July 28, 2008 (gmt 0)

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The site is really slow. My browser never seems to finish loading the page (still loading as I type this) I also don't like the results. It's hard to tell what site is more relevant after you get past the top left result... is that even the most relevant? My eye seems to go from the top left result immediately to the "explore by category" box and then down the right side.

One of the results has a picture of a gas station on it that's found nowhere on that site... it's not even close to the focus of the site. How in the world do they intend to display relevant images?

Here's where I think they miss the boat the most... the name. "google" is fast becoming part of the vernacular. I'm not even sure how to pronounce Cuil. Is it like coo-eel? coo-ill? sue-ill? sue-eel? No idea.

Former Employees of Google

Janitors? Secretaries? Lunch room attendants? All of which could be former Google employees ;)
3:20 pm on July 28, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Their Crawler either does not conform to meta noindex, none, ect tags or doesnt care.
3:26 pm on July 28, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Those images seem to be attached to results almost at random. They often don't appear on the sites they're next to at all, or necessarily have anything to do with that site's topic either.
3:30 pm on July 28, 2008 (gmt 0)

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This is the worst search engine I've ever seen. For my major keywords, ie my company name, scraper sites come up, sites in China who have taken my description right from my main page, but my own site doesn't come up at all.

All of these sites listed for me, are much newer to the web than my site, and can not possibly be more relevant for my keyword My Company Name at offering what my site offers. In fact, my site doesn't come up at all, even with the url entered. They will rank new sites that copy my content, but not me?

It wasn't just one of my sites, it was ALL of my sites, checked one by one, each that ranks highly in all other engines for the major nitch keywords the individual site covers.

AND . . . when I searched for one word keywords, those that produce 100+m results in other engines, I get the report "no results". That would be my summary of this engine, "No Results". Don't waste your time.

Not cuil, kewl, nor cool at all. I'll never use it.

3:33 pm on July 28, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Searches returning no results seem to be related to the capacity problem, there are results if you refresh
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