Today marks the launch of brand new search engine Cuil. According to the founders, some of them ex-Googlers, the need for a new search engine is the fact that the Internet is growing and getting harder to index. That is true, but I’m not sure that I agree with the principle that bigger is better. Cuil claims to have a larger index than Google, though Google disagrees. I don’t think it matters how big your index is if you can’t deliver relevant results to users. To me, the quality of the search results is the most important thing. With that in mind, does Cuil do a good job?
Well, according to Grokdotcom, Cuil hasn’t done well with brands. I’d have to agree. A search for “small business mavericks” turned up a “we didn’t find any results” page. Type that into Google and we’ re No. 1.
I performed a search for a search term that I knew should turn up exactly what I was looking for. I knew it because I know that there is only one page on the entire web that specifically offers a particular product. Type that product name into Google and every result on page 1, except for one, is about that product. In position No. 1 is the page on which the product is offered by the company that produces it. The rest of the results are product reviews, interviews with radio personalities and publishers with the product developer, and bookmarks of the product page at sites like Mixx and Propeller. Typing the same query into Cuil delivered a bunch of results not related to the product at all and the only result that was related was one of the bookmarks. Propeller seems to be heavily weighted at Cuil as several of the top results for the few queries I presented were Propeller pages – even if the pages I’d consider most relevant weren’t represented.
To be fair, I did go back in and type in “small business mavericks” with the quotation marks and I’m all over the page. I guess if you’re going to search for a specific brand at Cuil then it helps to put quotes around that brand name, but I did this with the aforementioned product and got back the “we didn’t find any results” page.
It’s clear that Cuil has a way to go before it meets its goal of producing more relevant results than Google. It’s methodology is clearly different than Google, attempting to deliver the most relevant results and not the most popular. I agree that most relevant is better than most popular, but I don’t think you can achieve that in the manner than Cuil is attempting. They seem to have done away with the link analysis algorithms that Google has based its results on. There could be an argument made that Google relies on that too much, but Cuil likely doesn’t rely on it enough. Still, as Greg Sterling says, let’s give Cuil another year to see how it develops before we rush to judgment over its competitive ability against Google.
Check out these other blog posts about Cuil: