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What Ever Happened To Cuil?

January 5, 2010

cuilDo you remember when Cuil launched in 2008?  Two ex-Googler’s, Tom Costello and Anna Patterson started the search engine, claiming to have the largest index of website (over 127 billion).  Even with its large index, they still had the near impossible task of going up the 800 pound gorilla called Google.  Also in my opinion, it does not matter how big your index is, if you do not show the most relevant websites for a given search, what’s the point?

As you can see, it has taken a huge dip since its launch and continues to decline.

This goes to show you that just because you claim to have the biggest index, doesn’t mean you can compete and steal market share from the “Big 3″ (Google, Yahoo, Bing).  Google is where they are at today because they focus on innovation. They pride themselves on providing quality search results by constantly improving their algorithm and adding new features.  This is something that I believe Cuil needs to improve on in the near future or continue to fade into oblivion.

Mashable wrote a blog post in August on how Cuil is re-emerging as a real-time search engine offering a number of new features.  The problem is that even with the focus on real-time search, they are a little too late.  With real-time search engines like Twitter Search, OneRiot and Tweetmeme, who have already gained market share and offer better user experience, Cuil is just a day late and a dollar short.

Personally, I have done a number of searches in various industries and have seen a number of sites that have no business being ranked on the first page.  It should be interesting to see if Cuil can regain momentum in 2010 with their real-time strategy.

4 Responses to What Ever Happened To Cuil?

  1. RC says:

    Cuil quit loading the other day. Today I used Google to see if there was any news on the problem. I found your Jan article high on the list. It wasn’t related to what I was looking for, but I read it out of curiosity anyway.

    Your interpretation of the graph made no sense. I see a decline after the curiosity spike at launch, a significant increase months later, perhaps due to marketing, then a decline that doesn’t quite go below the startup level. You, on the other hand, see that – … it has taken a huge dip since its launch and continues to decline. Although this doesn’t match the graph, it fits well with the tone of your article, which could be summed up as ‘David missed, got stomped,’ which in turn fits with your status as a wannabe Google AdWords Qualified Professional and Yahoo! Ambassador.

    I suggest a small change in your career path. You’ve got a nice, punch-in-the-eye flavor to your writing, and you apparently like to start with your conclusions, or the conclusions of those you feel beholden to, even when interpreting snippets of empirical data. I suggest that punditry is the place for you. You’re better looking than most of them, and certainly younger. You could quickly carve yourself a niche there.

  2. Arthur says:

    RC too has picked up on the ‘hidden agenda’ in your tone. We are who we are. Reading this makes me long for an article that strips away the marketing hype and industry muscle. One about doing a better search. Lord knows google searches are severely flawed. Invoking a longing for the honest ones of the 90’s. Cuil did give me some interesting results, in the first one or two in the list. The rest just rambled with little association. But I sensed they were trying things. Tweaking their internals and trying to offer something better. A tall task to be sure. I think they did fail. And in many ways. But they tried. I’d like to compare search strategies. Google seems more like the US government. Dictating rather that providing quality services. Bing seems much more relevant and pleasant. I can’t believe I say those things about MS. Thanks for writing about Cuil. You may be hostile to a “contender” but at least you offered some insights and a post. One lost on the rest of the bloggers.

  3. madethatchangeyetmrarrogant? says:

    “Twitter Search, OneRiot and Tweetmeme, who have already gained market share and offer better user experience”


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