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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...]

5:02 am on July 28, 2008 (gmt 0)

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[cuil.com...]

Nice find! The search industry needs more competition. The serps aren't half bad either. Some 404's on images and they have another sites logo confused with mine but overall I'm glad I didn't block Twiceler.

5:16 am on July 28, 2008 (gmt 0)

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It'll be launching with over 120 billion pages indexed, according to the CNET story:

New search engine takes aim at Google [news.cnet.com]

The most important difference between Cuil and Google is its ranking system. Rather than assigning priority to pages based on inbound links as Google does ("Pagerank"), Cuil analyzes the content of Web pages to divine their relevance to a search query. Costello bristled when I asked if this was a semantic search engine like PowerSet (recently sold to Microsoft). Costello said Cuil's search is "contextual," and that, "we're trying to understand the real world, not the Web."
5:35 am on July 28, 2008 (gmt 0)

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It will be interesting to see who is funding Cuil, and then who buys them.

When Brett makes a dedicated forum for them, I would like to be the mod. ;)

[edited by: kamikaze_Optimizer at 5:51 am (utc) on July 28, 2008]

8:03 am on July 28, 2008 (gmt 0)

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The Internet has grown exponentially in the last fifteen years but search engines have not kept up—until now. Cuil searches more pages on the Web than anyone else—three times as many as Google and ten times as many as Microsoft.

Yet, my sites aren't indexed... what a paradox.

10:07 am on July 28, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Hey! They lost the second "l" in the search results somewhere. I'm looking for it...

I'm trying to figure out how images are being associated with the destination URIs. When I enter a company name, I want to see a company brand associated with the domain and not an affiliate logo that was in the banner zone somewhere. What's up with that? Not Cuil!

Nice search interface. Big plus there.

10:10 am on July 28, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I must say the results are not bad at all except A few 404s.

Searching for 'cuil' in cuil doesn't give expected result, Google seem to give better results for 'cuil'.

[edited by: Habtom at 10:21 am (utc) on July 28, 2008]

10:28 am on July 28, 2008 (gmt 0)

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In some aspects they wont be as good as google and yahoo.

But i think we should support them .

There are to few search engines dominating the world.

Maybe microsoft will buy them.... ha ha

10:31 am on July 28, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Hmm... looks very attractive. One oddity though -

I put a search using some text from a site of mine, and yep, it found the page OK. The small para of text displayed in the result was relevant to the search - but was actually taken from something else, another site, and is nowhere to be found on my page.

Anyone else found this? Is it a feature or a glitch?

10:32 am on July 28, 2008 (gmt 0)

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That's extremely positive news. Finally a company that seems to be able to cope with Google (and even better, it's not MSFT). The results are not bad, the layout takes some getting-used-to, but they need to work on the images linked to some of the entries. Don't know why they put the wrong thumbnal next to one of my articles? But, hey, that's minor bugs.

Congrats for taking up the fight with the Do-no-evil-hah-thats-just-marketing-folks.

And now, dear webmasters, let's promote this baby and show Google their limits! :-)

10:34 am on July 28, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Ooops...

We'll be back soon...

Due to overwhelming interest, our Cuil servers are running a bit hot right now. The search engine is momentarily unavailable as we add more capacity.

Thanks for your patience.

10:38 am on July 28, 2008 (gmt 0)

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From Germany I got this:

We’ll be back soon...

Due to overwhelming interest, our Cuil servers are running a bit hot right now. The search engine is momentarily unavailable as we add more capacity.

Thanks for your patience.

Anyone else outside Germany with the same message?

10:43 am on July 28, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Anyone else outside Germany with the same message?

Yes. They are having challenges right now. It has been like this since earlier this morning and my guess is it will be similar throughout the day as more people come online. That's a bummer when you can't keep up with demand. It might have been me trying to get to that one billionth result, I'm not sure. I was still looking for the second "l". ;)

10:48 am on July 28, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Got some interesting results on the longer tail terms. I chose a particularly desireable consumer electronics device that I'm waiting for. Searching for the name of the device came up with some good results (although its going to take some time to get used to that layout), but searching for the name + "uk launch" or even just + "uk" got no results at all. Google came up with 48,000 results for the "uk launch" term, the first one talking about the UK launch plans for that device.

Still early days though, and I could have just been unlucky - it would be nice if this works out to be a viable competitor. I have my doubts, but I'm prepared to eat my words!

10:55 am on July 28, 2008 (gmt 0)

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

Cuil. How do you pronounce that?

It's like eBay's Kijiji. All this effort into launching new enterprises and yet people choose domains that are so easily misspelled or mispronounced.

Obviously there something in the big world of web business I don't understand.

FarmBoy

10:55 am on July 28, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Whops. I just broke it. I did a search and then a second search and then it was unavailable.

[edited by: jecasc at 10:56 am (utc) on July 28, 2008]

10:55 am on July 28, 2008 (gmt 0)

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This is as sweet as it gets. Anna Lynn Patterson, named as Inventor in the Google patents for Phrase Based Indexing:

Phrase Based Multiple Indexing and Keyword Co-Occurrence [webmasterworld.com]

How does that all relate to what Cuil.com is doing now, with the search results that will be presented when they officially launch tomorrow?

Take a look at the papers referenced in that thread (and other academic papers you can find) on Word Sense Disambiguation and keyword co-occurence, and see how Cuil.com is using those concepts with the tabbed topical choices they're offering to their users in their search results.

My personal all time favorite, that I've used in a few posts here over the years (even though we don't generally do specific search terms here at WebmasterWorld) has been the word "bows" because it can mean hair bows, violin bows, bow as in bow down and/or curtsey, or bow and arrow, etc. Try that search at Cuil.com and see what they offer in the tabs - and what they don't.

and then who buys them

We know who will try, don't we? Let's not even think about that, huh? ;)

When Brett makes a dedicated forum for them, I would like to be the mod.

Never mind "them," how about IR concepts, theory and research? Volunteer for that, and I promise to be your right hand man, as would all the other algo/patent junkies around here.

Unfortunately, the technology behind their search is a completely different issue from the site design and interface, and they've got a way to go with usability issues and branding.

10:58 am on July 28, 2008 (gmt 0)

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They might have something here.

[cuil.com...]

> Louis Monier, VP of Products

aka: Mr. Altavista. I always wondered where Louis ended up at.

There is Cuil webmaster info here: [cuil.com...]

11:12 am on July 28, 2008 (gmt 0)

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We didn’t find any results for "WebmasterWorld"

Edited: The above is all due to their demand challenges right now. Come on! I am rooting for you, really I am. We need it now though. Too many requests for WebmasterWorld.

11:24 am on July 28, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Nice to see more competition.

I tried a search "Rome Italy": I think that they have to implement some spam filters... . Not everybody searching "Rome Italy" is only looking for Hotels...

11:28 am on July 28, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I thought the same thing! No matter how good it is, I won't be telling anyone about it - It would take 20 minutes to get the domain name across!

The results are interesting - they don't seem very clear to me, yet I like the idea of not having numbered spots. Which site is number 4, for example?

11:29 am on July 28, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Results are displayed well, perhaps a screenshot of the site instead of a logo. Also need to have rankings for the pages, i.e. you dont know which results are necessarily the most relevant.

However the results are less relevant than google or yahoo.

[edited by: whatson at 11:30 am (utc) on July 28, 2008]

11:29 am on July 28, 2008 (gmt 0)

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aka: Mr. Altavista. I always wonder where Louis ended up at.

Brett, there was a terrific thread here at WebmasterWorld, way back in 2000-2001, that was a discussion about the fact that at that time, Alta Vista was noted as being the holder of most of the world's existing search technology patents. I've even got that thread bookmarked. ;)

There's now a media fuss being raised about this launch, but the marketing factors and the search technology issues are different matters. There are obviously some heavy-weights involved from an IR standpoint, but unfortunately the big spin will probably be the VC possibilities.

11:46 am on July 28, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I ranked well on a major one-word search term but for some reason the image they are showing for my site is not from my site!
11:56 am on July 28, 2008 (gmt 0)

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did any of you make it to page 2 or even 3 during your tests?

...

I did...

go on. do a query. go past page 1.

12:07 pm on July 28, 2008 (gmt 0)

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My first few searches have not gone so well:

Search 1: The top 8 results were all from the same site. #9 was a scraper site. #10 was the best result.

Search 2: No authority sites found anywhere in the top ten. The "Explore by Category" seems to be confused as to what I'm looking for.

Search 3: No results found

Search 4: 4 of top 5 results were the same article just different domain.

Not to impressed yet. But I guess we can give them a few years to catch up and see then. Back to Google I go.

12:17 pm on July 28, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I tested cuil based on niche keywords on which I know what is out there in termes of quality website.

Verdict: One of my websites is over-rated by cuil, another one grossly under-rated, the pictures displayed with the results are 70% misleading, it is very slow (demand problems that will change soon, I guess), I dislike the colour scheme, like the "topic" arrangement table a lot (very useful for my niche! and it seems to work pretty well, too).

All in all, the most interesting of the dozens of "next google" search engines that are launched every year. Back to google I go...

12:23 pm on July 28, 2008 (gmt 0)

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They should get the bugs right before launching.

The results are terible!

12:24 pm on July 28, 2008 (gmt 0)

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If they continue to place logos from one site within the listing for a competitor site, I foresee legal problems. Our logo - with our domain name all over it - has appeared within listings for three different competitors on pages 1, 2 and 3. (Pity the logo doesn't link to the site they took it from!)
12:37 pm on July 28, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Great to see someone new on the scene, someone needs to come in and shake up things a little.

That said, aside from the temporary traffic the press releases will provide, wonder what their plans are to generate traffic? Unless this is marketed and marketed well, I don't think this will go anywhere. After all you're asking people to switch from Google to something brand new. Why would they?

I also see problems with the image use within the serps. Inaccurate for one. If they are going to stick with this, they should allow webmaster's to metatag what image is to be used.

And lastly, when I search for a single phrase (a big one in Google and other engines), they don't have any results.

Good luck with the engine, it's great to see people haven't given up in the face of Google. :-)

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