Monday, July 28, 2008

Marketing Blog - Cuil - The New Search Engine - Everyone's Talking About

If you read the news today you could not have missed it. Cuil, pronounced "Cool" the new search engine. I myself, am slightly unimpressed mostly with the layout and the results so far.

Like Google, Cuil starts out with a very nondescript front page where you enter your search term, though Cuil sports a black background to differentiate it from Google right up front. That's where the differences start, and it gets better from there.

Rather than displaying search results in the plain-Jane text that Google does, Cuil brings back a very nice looking and well organized multi-column page including a thumbnail of a header, portrait or graphic from that link's page. Well, sometimes it does but it's not always accurate. On a search for my name, Cuil associated a picture of James Mitchell Ashley (can't say I've sported a suit like that in some time) and a cowboy dude from what looks like an album cover. Obviously Cuil has some perfecting to do but I like where it's going.

What else is different about Cuil? They say they don't analyze their users, they analyze web pages, ranking them for relevancy, inter-relationships and coherency, not just popularity. (Hmm...I'm not a search algorithm expert but that could mean just about anything.) They also say Cuil searches 3x the web pages as Google and 10x more than Microsoft Live Search. Cuil also organizes results into tabs. I've often wonder why Google couldn't distinguish the difference between Fender guitars and fender benders.

Look Ma, no advertising. No signs of that yet in Cuil's search results but you'd have to guess that's in Cuil's future as usage builds up. I've only just tried Cuil so I don't have much hands on experience with it to say whether I like or hate it yet.

One more thing. Cuil lists a general council on their exec team. Not that I want to get any nasty-grams from some lawyer but I always question when startups have full time legal council. Seems to me there's usually two reasons: either there's lots of business contracts to work on, or you're expecting enough IP disputes or litigation from competitors (Google?) that it's better to start stocking up the war chest early. Don't know if I'm right but that's what make sense to me.

Let me know what you think of Cuil, if you use it, think its a waste or like what you see.


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