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Ex-Google Employees Try to Be Cuil

Aug 28, 2008
Cuil is a search engine conceived by former employees of Google: Anna Patterson, Russell Power and Louis Monier, all former Google employees. Tom Costello is also a major founder and has worked for IBM and various other companies.

To differentiate itself, Cuil organizes web pages by content and displays entries that are comparatively long. They also include thumbnail pictures for many results. Cuil claims to have a larger index than any other search engine, with over 120 billion web pages.

Unlike other search engines,Cuil's privacy policy states that it does not store records of users' search activity or IP addresses.

Now for the nitty gritty: how does it REALLY work? Well, its too soon to tell. But the first day doesn't bode to well. Cuil was down for most of the launch day and suffered from heavy first-day overloads

Cuil's VP of communications Vince Solitto told Rafe Needleman of Cnet that Cuil "will only improve with time. It's day one. Traffic is massive. We're new. There are bugs to fix, results to improve."

When I searched for "free food" my first time using Cuil, I got zero results. Then I turned off safe search and it bumped up to 142, 853. The same result got me 66,500,000 results in Google.

Those numbers just don't add up. Ok, so it might take time. But before we start comparing to Google, let's wait for better results.

Another big wrench in its nascent "Google killer" rep? No advertising. Now, I like that, but if it can't come up with an advertising platform to rival Google's, it hasn't a hope of besting it.

One of the biggest advantages of Google's massive advertising platform is that it allows for better search results.

We do have to keep in mind that Google didn't monetize itself at first either; that was a process that took awhile. But the people who created Cuil are ex-Googlers, so they would have known how important that is from the get-go.

Now, you might say you like the idea of less results that are more relevant as to more that are filled with a lot of junk.

However, how relevant are the results you're getting with Cuil, really? I've used it several times now and was frustrated by the results.

But, I'm one person, so what's relevant to me isn't necessarily relevant to you. And that's a major factor Cuil has to take into consideration as they go along.

Cuil claims it won't monitor users' search habits in order to target advertising the way Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft do.

That's an admirable goal, but that information is what has allowed all the search engines to refine their algorithms and provide more relevant results.

The best Cuil is looking at for the time being is solidifying itself in a niche position and presenting itself as an attractive acquisition for the big kahunas: Yahoo, MSN, Google.

It remains to be seen how competitive it will get, where its creators will take it and how well it will perform. For now, I'll play around with Cuil, but my real work will continue to be done on Google.
About the Author
Wendy Moyer is a professional writer and journalist. Authority Domains is a search engine marketing company based out of Los Angeles, offering services that include text link building, search engine marketing and social media marketing. They also author the RMA Search Engine Marketing Blog.
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