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Cuil New Search Engine

written by John Chow on July 28, 2008

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There’s a new search engine in town and it’s pretty Cuil. Cuil is a stealth search engine startup which claims that it can index web pages significantly faster and cheaper than Google. Cuill has told potential investors that their indexing costs will be 1/10th of Google’s, based on new search architectures and relevance methods.

Cuil was founded by the husband and wife team and Tom Costello and Anna Patterson. They were joined by Russell Power. Patterson and Power are ex-Google search experts. Costello was the founder of Xift. With that kind of credentials, it wasn’t hard to raise $30 million in start up funding.

Is It a Better Google?

Cuil claims to have 121,617,892,992 web pages indexed, more than any other search engine. It’s also taking on a very evil (stealth?) look with it’s all black background. It’s really too early to tell if Cuil can be a better Google since it’s only 24 hours old. However, it is nice to see that Cuil ranks me number 1 for John Chow. All the other searches I’ve performed on it produced pretty good results as well. I especially like the related categories, which return results that are extremely relevant.

Give the new search engine a try and tell me what you think. Let’s hope Cuil makes it because we need something to prevent Google from taking over the Internet.

BTW – Don’t misspell Cuil by switching the i and the l or you’re end up on a porn site.

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Jamie Harrop July 28, 2008 at 11:04 am

I tried it this morning and didn’t like it. I found it to be quite slow to load. I got several 404 and 403 errors. Many sites I tested weren’t indexed. It added strange thumbnails next to the listings of many of my own pages.

I’ve come across many search terms that Cuil is saying they don’t have results for.

“Personal branding” shows no results
“Entrepreneur interviews” shows no results
“Young Entrepreneur” shows no results, despite them having indexed my own Web site (I have that phrase in my ) and they have also indexed youngentrepreneur.com)

Many Web developers have banned the bot from indexing their sites because it uses so much bandwidth.

As far as I can see, this is just another search engine that doesn’t work amongst the many hundreds that are setup each day. Is being ex-Google employees really such a selling point for the media, or am I missing something?

John Chow July 28, 2008 at 11:30 am

Well, it’s only been 24 hours. Google has been at this for 10 years now. I say give it a bit of time before rendering any final judgment.

dcr July 28, 2008 at 11:57 am

If they weren’t ready, they shouldn’t have announced it. They boast about having indexed more pages than Google, but checking Cuil’s search results would seem to disprove that claim. In any case, they have lost credibility.

Jamie Harrop July 29, 2008 at 1:22 am

See that’s the problem. It hasn’t been just 24 hours. It’s been indexing sites for a long time, building up to this point where their PR guru sent out the press releases. They really flopped, in my opinion.

Tyler Ingram July 28, 2008 at 11:04 am

Weird my site doesn’t come up as the main site like Google’s does. A lot of reference to me, but not to my site.

Technology Coach July 28, 2008 at 11:21 am

I tried Cuil earlier this morning, when it was mentioned by someone on twitter and didn’t get the kind of results I expected. Guess it’s a little early to expect the same results as Google.
Google could use some competition, so I’ll be supporting it.

dcr July 28, 2008 at 11:34 am

It may be too early to expect the same results as Google, but one should be able to expect at least decent results of some sort. This is not ready for prime time at all. Did it just slip out that they were unveiling it today, or did they intentionally contact the press about it? Because it seems to be a very bad idea to start promoting your search engine when it’s in such a sad state as it is. People will look at the site, see the disappointing results and go right back to Google. Many aren’t going to bother checking Cuil again in the future; they’ll just stick with Google.

dcr July 28, 2008 at 11:30 am

Cuil is a sad, sad joke. Poor (and sometimes few) search results. Sometimes the same page and URL will appear on multiple pages of a search. And lots of irrelevant results. And plenty of sites just completely missing. On one search I did, for a keyword I rank well on in Google, I wasn’t listed at all. Nor were many of my competitors. And a lot of sites that were showing up weren’t related at all.

If I didn’t know better, I’d swear it was April 1st.

Gregg July 28, 2008 at 11:57 am

It’s already down do to overload. Why do these multi-million dollar startups never prepare for the inevitable?

Jason Moffatt July 28, 2008 at 11:58 am

So far, it blows!
You know you you’ve crushed it when you create a “verb” out of your company name.

I don’t ever see someone saying, “hmm, I don’t know, let me Cuil it”.

Ain’t gonna happen.


Eliza July 28, 2008 at 12:12 pm

Yeah, it’s not opening on my end too.

But I really would like to give it a fair try before making any judgment.

Art July 28, 2008 at 12:20 pm

FYI, Cuil is pronounced as “Cool”.

Make Money Talks July 28, 2008 at 12:21 pm

I can’t access this site for hours, so they need faster server :)

TYCP Entertainment Magazine July 28, 2008 at 12:26 pm

I tried it early this morning & it didn’t work. Tried it again just now & it still doesn’t work.

Affiliate Confession July 28, 2008 at 2:49 pm

It’s working as of 10 till 6 eastern time, but it’s seriously slow.

TYCP Entertainment Magazine July 29, 2008 at 11:16 am

I tried it again & now it’s working. I guess I caught it at a good time.

kenny July 28, 2008 at 12:26 pm

Its not a scientific test, but after performing a handful of test searches (when the site was working) I found Google had more search results in every case. Ignoring the number of results, I still find Google’s results to be better and more relevant but I see lots of potential for Cuil.

Jason July 28, 2008 at 12:59 pm

Terrible results. Hopefully it gets better, but like others have mentioned, it was kind of bad timing on their part to launch if their results aren’t up to par.

I can’t see anyone actually using this for now.

Affiliate Confession July 28, 2008 at 2:48 pm

Hey John, at least your number one on a new search engine. They got that right.

Neil Galloway July 28, 2008 at 3:13 pm

Well, some results look okay but all the searches I am number one or in the top 10 for on Google don’t even show on this site. If I google my name I am always number one on Google and my site doesn’t even show.

Do you have to do something to be indexed?

Tailgating Dave July 28, 2008 at 3:17 pm

I did a search for the terms “tailgating ideas” on there and my site, tailgatingideas.com, did not come up at all. you would think when using the exact search terms it would come up. I looked for way to submit my site to be indexed…. no such luck. Based on that alone Cuil blows. How can you claim to have a ton of pages indexed but no way to submit ones they do not have?

Germz July 28, 2008 at 3:31 pm

Meh… I don’t like it, It’s slow and I searched for Germz and it didn’t give me the results that I expected.

vancity July 28, 2008 at 6:14 pm

and it already has a page rank of 4 !!!… BoOoo !

Start Blogging July 28, 2008 at 6:21 pm

I say give it some time. John’s right, we need something to at least take a bite into Google. I really like the results page, even if it’s being slow and not completely functional at this point.

Henrik Blunck - Denmark July 28, 2008 at 6:55 pm

Releasing something along the lines of a search engine before it’s tried and tested, and proved its worth is like shooting geese with cannons. Might be effective, but makes more of a mess than deal with the obvious challenge: getting food on the table.

Pardon my french in pointing it out: but it doesn’t cut it in the business world. We don’t have an utopia of fancy pink skies yet.

If we deal in and with reality we have a better chance in succeeding in ALL aspects of life, imho. :-)

Henrik Blunck - Denmark July 28, 2008 at 6:27 pm

Read my lips: “NOTHING beats Google.”

It doesn’t matter what anybody ever thinks or tries to do, even Altavista, Yahoo and all the rest won’t matter anything compared with Google.

Regardless of whatever hype is ever presented out there. Google ruleZ :-)

TYCP Entertainment Magazine July 29, 2008 at 11:18 am

I think it will definitely be hard since Google really branched out & is no longer JUST a search engine.

Colin July 28, 2008 at 6:34 pm

I don’t mind it… Sure the format could be refined a little bit, the results too… Was happy to find some of the terms we have worked hard on quite high in the results, where as some where there was a weaker market and hence only onpage seo was required… have not ranked very well… so it looks like this search engine is very citation/authority based.

WebTraffciROI July 28, 2008 at 7:10 pm

very slow…..i am sure the porn site is going to get hugh hits now

Doug July 28, 2008 at 7:18 pm

God bless them in their efforts, however I did a number of searches and this site did not pull up relevant results in too many instances. I was not impressed.

Money Blue Book July 28, 2008 at 9:11 pm

Are you kidding me?? Cuil is terrible! The search results are completely off base and only marginally better than the horrendous search results of Yahoo and MSN. Content based search algorithms currently do not work.

KCLau July 28, 2008 at 9:12 pm

oh .. this thing doesn’t work.
They index 12 billion pages but they had missed out my site.
Try cuiling “kclau”.
No result .. still very far from google man.

Clickusername July 28, 2008 at 9:26 pm

Not all that cuil or is it ciul?

Rajaie AlKorani July 28, 2008 at 9:30 pm

Looks like not too many people are happy with Cuil :lol: But I’m sure that they will eventually improve over time, I mean, they have been online for just a very little while :roll:

JumboCasher.com July 29, 2008 at 12:05 am

John… I guess their funding is going down the drain…

Mike July 29, 2008 at 12:53 am

Speaking of sites launching yesterday. Have you already checked out http://www.TrafficMarks.com. It is a FREE new SEO tool that helps you quickly identify the top authority sites in your niche to get links from.

PaulB July 29, 2008 at 1:27 am

Being told the top sites is one thing (it’s usually very easy to find out), the big problem is actually getting the sites to link to you.

Free web reviews July 29, 2008 at 11:11 am

Pretty cool design with very poor results.
These guys have a long way to go until they reach even MSN Live or Yahoo, let alone Google.

Jeff July 29, 2008 at 1:52 pm

I just checked them out and have found one problem….slow

The nice thing about Google, even though they are turning evil, is that it is always fast.

The other thing that I noticed is that I am getting a lot of 404 errors even though I am linking from their own site….

johnchowthethird July 29, 2008 at 2:47 pm

cuil is so stealth that if you type “cuil” on THEIR OWN search engine they simply DONT SHOW on page one.

a search company that cant find its own name – it doesnt get more ironic than this!!!!

FlipItRealEstate July 29, 2008 at 10:16 pm

That is hilarious. But I think that only time will tell, as the best way to fine tune results is to collect data on the searchers behavior on search results

marketing July 29, 2008 at 7:12 pm

OK why Goolgle wins: First mover advantage. Originally very focussed good name. Too many people won’t be able to pronounce that I thought it said “Queel” wtf.

fas July 30, 2008 at 2:58 am

I did a search and i am not impressed. Too much spam in the results.

Keron Calame July 30, 2008 at 5:38 am

Pretty Cuil Indeed but they need a more attractive website, remove the black

Keron Calame July 30, 2008 at 5:51 am

I agree Google needs some competition but cuil isn’t it right now, I have been search since i made my first post and up to now I can’t get any results.

Cuil Means Slow in internet language :)

Keron Calame July 30, 2008 at 5:58 am

Hey Guess what i finally got results and my sites are not in the results, image that out of 121,617,892,992 web pages, i found http://www.islandbasking.com though…

feel reality July 30, 2008 at 7:54 am

cuil = epic fail… should’ve have saved your Google money and bought fun stuff.

Rizzotees.com July 31, 2008 at 11:56 am

It produced inferior results for me, including some simple searches that yielded NO results. And their “About Cuil” page yielded a 404 error. Test this stuff before you put your site up! Good luck to them.