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Cuil Search Thinks Knowledge Is Cool

New search site launches with big index

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The new search engine, named after an Irish word for knowledge, claims a bigger index and better relevance than competitors makes it a better search solution.

Well, they’ve got plenty of Wikipedia results in their search. The online encyclopedia holds a catnip-like appeal for new search engines; witness how Microsoft’s recently-purchased Powerset managed to turn this into a quick flip for millions.

The debut of Cuil (pronounced ‘cool’ they say) comes with a boast of an index triple the size of Google’s, at more than 120 billion pages. Size doesn’t really matter in search as much as it used to, as people want a relevant result from two or three words of a query.

When it can hit Wikipedia, Cuil does fine. A quick search for Robert Johnson brought up several results for the legendary blues guitarist, returning those results in a three-column page. The page includes a box with "Explore by Category" options, where a searcher can look at related queries. In the case of our soul-selling bluesman, those include people like Son House and Blind Willie Johnson.

Clicking on them found Cuil a little too hot to handle. "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," said the message that returned instead of results.

Danny Sullivan said the site runs off two datacenters, with a thousand 8-CPU servers apparently handling the index, and another 280 delivering results. At press time, it wasn’t enough to handle the buzz from coverage at places like TechCrunch and GigaOm.

Webmasters who want Cuil to tap their pages should be seeing a crawler called Twiceler hitting their sites. Sounds like someone at Cuil might be a fan of Dr. Seuss’ ‘The Lorax’, which featured an environment-trashing executive called Onceler as its antagonist.

The real test for Cuil when it comes back will be how well it handles the niche queries people make all the time, expecting a solid result from very few words. That’s how Google built its dominance in search; people assume search works this way, and they will be happy with Cuil if it does.

Cuil Search Thinks Knowledge Is Cool
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  • Roy

    Google boys must be shacking in their space boots.  Finally somebody who can really put that dog down or straighten him out.   You’ll see Google now scaling down on projects.  What a headache for Google!  Anna is Google’s mother! She is pissed and ready to bury Google!  http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/25884709/

    Anna, start the cuilwords!  Google is too damn expensive!

  • http://www.mountain-lodging.com Karl Baldwin

    Trying a few searches on www.cuil.com for several vacation cabin rental search terms, brought up hundreds of websites with graphics taken from my website being used on other’s. Even more bazzar, many of my clients websites had somebody else’s graphic attached to their listings.

    My law firm is already taking action. To put it kindly, Cuil is clearly not ready for prime time.

    Karl Baldwin
    Mountain Lodging Vacation Cabin Rentals
    www.mountain-lodging.com