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cuil kids?
July 28, 2008 8:24 AM   Subscribe

Cuil is a new search engine developed by former Google employees, and claims to index 3x more pages than Google. CNN Money story has the basics. My attempts were met with timeouts.

Other reports (Slashdot) show that others are having trouble with access as well. Surely the people behind this have enough experience at Google to realize you have to have orders of magnitude of capacity above what you think you need to make sure all search is fast, accurate, and error free. I can't take this seriously if they can't even handle first day traffic. Techcrunch has a different take on breadth.

And all black vs all white background. Really?
posted by Ynoxas (189 comments total)

 
Eh, so far it is no HotNot. When I search my name, it doesn't even find my homepage, which seems like the basic test of a search engine.
posted by blahblahblah at 8:28 AM on July 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


Sorry, HotBot. Not HotNot. Though they both come from the same era of the internet.
posted by blahblahblah at 8:29 AM on July 28, 2008


fail
posted by puritycontrol at 8:29 AM on July 28, 2008


From the BBC article:

Cuil, pronounced "cool", says it uses more than 120 billion webpages to build up its index of the information it finds on the web.

It claims this is more than Google uses though the search giant has stopped reporting how much it indexes. Without revealing numbers Google claimed its index was still bigger.

posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 8:31 AM on July 28, 2008


Jeez, the About page is currently showing:

Oops! We couldn’t find that page.

Please verify that the URL is correct and try again.

posted by Burhanistan at 8:31 AM on July 28, 2008


Hmmmmm. Simple one word searches like obama and batman returned plenty of results. I searched for my laptop model and got nothing. The same search on Google gives me back 18,300 results. They may have jumped the gun a bit with this one.
posted by minifigs at 8:32 AM on July 28, 2008


We didn’t find any results for “metafilter”

Former employees, indeed.
posted by DU at 8:37 AM on July 28, 2008 [14 favorites]


Does this just about sum it up? I think it does.
posted by Wolfdog at 8:37 AM on July 28, 2008 [37 favorites]


Well, I can't get it to load, but I wonder what exactly they mean by:
Rather than trying to mimic Google's method of ranking the quantity and quality of links to Web sites, Patterson says Cuil's technology drills into the actual content of a page.
Most of the time, I don't care so much about how many pages a search indexes as how relevant the pages it returns are to what I'm looking for. This was one of Google's major innovations, and what made it more useful than the competition.
posted by echo target at 8:38 AM on July 28, 2008


I believe Google announced last week that it's index had hit one trillion, so rather than being larger they're smaller by a factor of eight.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 8:38 AM on July 28, 2008


I'll take their word for it, but my standard test searches for new engines came up with a combination of weird results (all those aggravating wikipedia knockoffs), nada, or hang time.
posted by thomas j wise at 8:38 AM on July 28, 2008


Google: Results 1 - 10 of about 639,000 for Morden, Manitoba. (The top results are useful)
Cuil: 7,026 results for Morden, Manitoba. (Most of the first page of results are empty pages from the same SEO site)
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 8:39 AM on July 28, 2008


Google handles ~1 trillion unique URLs, though a large number are not part of the search results because the content at the URL is auto-generated or not unique.
posted by jedicus at 8:39 AM on July 28, 2008


That and Cuil is a really dumb name. It sounds like the name of a thief that's hanging out with Conan in some of the older Windsor-Smith/Thomas-era comics. Cuil is a spunky teen who clawed his way up out of poverty in Stygia before fleeing to Zamora where he joins up with Conan. At first he treats Conan like a mentor, but ultimately attempts to betray the barbarian after being tempted by some Aquilonian lords. Of course, said lords turn on Cuil at the last moment and the youth sees the error of his ways. He dies saving Conan from the very trap he helped set. All of this would happen in the space of a single issue and we'd never hear about it again. That's because the name 'Cuil' says 'filler' to me and nobody wants that.

Meanwhile, 'Google' makes me think of 'ogling' and deep down everyone wants to ogle and be ogled.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 8:40 AM on July 28, 2008 [21 favorites]


Complete failure.
posted by Perplexity at 8:41 AM on July 28, 2008


The way it presents results is interesting - when I searched my name, I got a column of personal sites, a column of my work stuff and a column of social networky gubbins. This may be a total fluke, but if not, it's pretty clever.
posted by jack_mo at 8:41 AM on July 28, 2008


Yeah. No.

The first page of my search for "red-tail hawk" is full of stuff that I can buy. On my old friend Google, the first couple of links go to places that will give me information about rthas, not try to sell me stuff.
posted by rtha at 8:41 AM on July 28, 2008


Yep, fail. I searched for an organisation I work with, The Democratic Society, and the top search result was this, an organisation with very different goals.
posted by athenian at 8:41 AM on July 28, 2008


I assume the name is from Irish mythology, given the original "two L" name and pronunciation. Any mapping of the associated myth to the search wars is left as an exercise for the reader.
posted by feckless at 8:45 AM on July 28, 2008


This fails just from the name, which nobody knows how to pronounce.

by the way, it failed to bring itself up on the first page when I typed in "cuil"

Also, searched for my name, and after it finally returned a result, it brought back bios on me and things I have written with pictures of people I've never even met before - and believe it or not, are uglier than I am. FAIL FAIL FAIL FAIL FAIL

posted by Muddler at 8:46 AM on July 28, 2008


I read about Cuil this morning on CNN, so I figured I would give it a whirl. First, I put in my name, which usually pulls up my professional site, my IMDB listing, and my various social profiles (Goodreads, LibraryThing, Metafilter Wiki...) Cuil found nothing.

But hey, I'm not famous. So, i put in Robert Pattinson Gallery, because as a fan girl, I like to look at pictures of Cedric Diggory, right? Not only was the "magazine style" return page disorganized and hard to sift, but it only returned websites of very old news stories and lots of spam sites (where they put up one picture of a celebrity, and the entire rest of the page is malware/spamware/uglyblinking monstrosity banners.)

What it did NOT bring up was his official site, or any one of the dozens of fan run sites that feature picture galleries- invariably linked with text from the front page with text that says 'gallery'. I don't believe we'll be hearing Cuiling in pop culture anytime soon.
posted by headspace at 8:47 AM on July 28, 2008


I can kind of see what they're trying to do with this. Their presentation and formatting of search results has categorisations and page design that (I guess) they think makes it easier to find what you're looking for, as well as making serendipitous connections between subject areas.

Unfortunately, their indexing is so limited that it breaks more often than not. Plus, as there's no metric that shows the relative value of a page specific page, there's no way to visually filter what you get. It's just a splurge of results, roughly grouped, in the very narrow subject areas that they've seen fit (?) to index so far.

I'll try it out again in a few weeks and see if there's any more depth to it, but 'taking on Google'? Nope.
posted by Happy Dave at 8:48 AM on July 28, 2008


When I tried them with my real name, they actually pulled up good stuff that Google misses every time. But then when I started searching other stuff, not so hot.

I suspect the issue is not being able to handle the traffic. If they get that ironed out, they are onto something.

Don't despise small beginnings, folks, they may eventually have something here.
posted by konolia at 8:51 AM on July 28, 2008


> ...their indexing is so limited that it breaks more often than not.

When you see [search phrase] not found, reload the page and you should see search results. I have a feeling the query server isn't keeping up with the web server.
posted by ardgedee at 8:53 AM on July 28, 2008


Getting yourself featured on CNN is not a "small beginning". It's "overselling your meager offering".
posted by DU at 8:55 AM on July 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


The two-or-three column format is the sort of thing that looks great when screenshots are printed in magazines and displayed on TV screens. But having to scroll up and down multiple times to scan each page of search results gets unpleasant fast.

Wide single columns: Ugly, stale, works.
posted by ardgedee at 8:56 AM on July 28, 2008 [8 favorites]


I tried 10 searches, none of them came up with what I was looking for; Google did it the first time.

So, yes, exactly what I'd expect from somebody who left Google because they unbelievably refused to fuck with the results pages and a former Altavista engineer.
posted by bonaldi at 8:56 AM on July 28, 2008



When you see [search phrase] not found, reload the page and you should see search results. I have a feeling the query server isn't keeping up with the web server.


Ah, yes, seems to be working better now, but still the relative usefulness of the results seems to be a bit scattershot.
posted by Happy Dave at 8:57 AM on July 28, 2008


A search for my name didn't even come up with my personal website.
posted by k8t at 8:57 AM on July 28, 2008


This is some sort of performance art, I think. (Or would it be installation art?) No way it's real.
posted by voltairemodern at 8:59 AM on July 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


Frankly, I have a hard time believing the Cuil VP of Engineering would say something to the effect that they have a larger absolute index than Google. Especially, when you consider she had already sold search technology to Google and exited as recently as 2006. The language of the AP article seems suspect - so far it's the only source for the "3 times the size of Google's index" citation I could find. An extraordinary claim like that would likely be quoted verbatim and not inserted into a sentence.

Seeing as how Cuil's emphasis is on efficiency and search relevance relevant to infrastructure cost, I'll bet she actually said something along the lines of "3 times the size of Google's index per infrastructure dollar." That's something I can believe and would make sense for attracting investment dollars.
posted by junesix at 9:00 AM on July 28, 2008


There's three seconds of my life that I'll never get back. What a piece of shit.
posted by mattbucher at 9:03 AM on July 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm sorry it's not working. I cuiled "cuil" and broke it. Sorry, my bad.
posted by chillmost at 9:04 AM on July 28, 2008


uncuil.
posted by tadellin at 9:07 AM on July 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


I was reading about this earlier
Which brings us to the main thing: the quality of search. Let me say right of the bat that Cuil is not better than Google. It’s solid, but not better, and based on my limited testing, I’d even go so far to say that it’s not even that close. A search for “Mashable” yielded solid results, with mashable.com being the first one, but others were mostly links to articles. Google, on the other hand, intelligently put Mashable’s Twitter account and our social network, my.mashable.com, in the top 10.

Another thing I like to try when I test out new search engines is simply type in some piece of my hardware, perhaps even incorrectly, to see if I’ll get drivers, manuals, and similar useful information. I do it because Google is so unbelievably awesome at it, that I can’t imagine anyone topping them in this area. Searching Cuil for “DFI Nforce 4” was extremely disappointing, as it yielded zero results. Google, on the other hand, gave me the official DFI site, plus a bunch of reviews, all related to the actual product I was interested in. No contest there.
I think the real problem is that no search engine is ever going to be as good as google in any real sense unless google drops the ball somehow, because few companies are going to have the resources to invest in their engine. The original Google algorithm could probably be implemented pretty easily (Depending on how large of a scale you're talking about. Obviously optimizing and scaling it up would take some effort) but Google has refined their engines over years and years.

The can also do things like hand-tune the engine for specific types of searches, like the search for computer hardware: You can use the structure of the web to find out what terms are likely to be computer hardware, and figure out a good way to search for those things specifically. If you're Google, you have the time and resources to tune that specific type of search. If you're just starting out, you don't. But the vast majority of searches are probably going to be for things that Google has had a chance to hand optimize (at least in category if not specifics)

Of course I'm making a big assumption about how Google's algorithm works, but even if they use some other mechanism to get great search results, other people are still going to have a huge problem reimplementing it.

Which is actually kind of a problem, since having a search monopoly is somewhat problematic.

On the other hand the guy at mashable also says this:
I’ve got a theory: no one can create a better search engine than Google, simply because Google does not only search websites, but - through its domination of the market - the entire web bends to Google’s will because every web site wants to be positioned well on Google. Therefore, any competitor that may arise - however large its index, however good its algorithms - can only hope to be nearly as good as Google.
I think that's wrong. For one thing, people actually optimize for a naive vision of how google works, not how it actually works, and cuil can use that naive vision to help build it's index, but the other problem is that while people optimize for google, they don't necessarily have the searcher's best intrest in mind. A search engine that's not being gamed constantly might actually be better then one that's not. But, the resource discrepancy I outlined above is probably a bigger problem.
posted by delmoi at 9:08 AM on July 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


Cuil also seems to fail the most crucial test yet, which is a lack of new listings on my ex-girlfriends and that one girl who kissed me in third grade.
posted by The Straightener at 9:08 AM on July 28, 2008 [4 favorites]


"Patterson enjoyed her time at Google, but became disenchanted with the company's approach to search. "Google has looked pretty much the same for 10 years now," she said, "and I can guarantee it will look the same a year from now.""

Yat again a new search engine misses one of the key reasons behind the success of google.
posted by Mitheral at 9:08 AM on July 28, 2008 [3 favorites]


Cuil? More like Cul.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 9:09 AM on July 28, 2008 [4 favorites]


the only source for the "3 times the size of Google's index" citation I could find

ahem
posted by DU at 9:09 AM on July 28, 2008


Score one for the PR guy / gal that landed this placement on CNN. Because that seems to be their biggest success of the day so far.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:09 AM on July 28, 2008


Rather than trying to mimic Google's method of ranking the quantity and quality of links to Web sites, Patterson says Cuil's technology drills into the actual content of a page.

So back to 1997 then? The whole point of why Google's method is necessary is that SEO jerks will put up pages that have content specifically designed to trick search engines into putting them higher than useful sites. In the bad old days it was extremely common to get back pages full of bogus results that contained every possible variation of common keywords.
posted by burnmp3s at 9:09 AM on July 28, 2008


Oh and another important thing google has that other sites don't: Millions of people with the google toolbar installed. Google gets to find out what sites you visit if you have it installed, and therefore it knows what pages people actually spend time looking at after doing a search.
posted by delmoi at 9:09 AM on July 28, 2008


What is the deal with the images? They (often) have nothing to do with the result they are paired with.
posted by jca at 9:10 AM on July 28, 2008


OooOooOOooo, I am tab worthy!
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:13 AM on July 28, 2008


Google should buy Cuil just to fire these guys again.
posted by Avenger at 9:14 AM on July 28, 2008 [42 favorites]


Since the world revolves around me, I entered my own name. Google shows my personal website as the first result followed by sites that refer to me, or entries on blogs where I have used my name.

The horribly-named Cuil never shows my personal website, even after going in to 16 pages of results. I gave up after that.
posted by Fuzzy Skinner at 9:14 AM on July 28, 2008


Frts search result = 100% wikispammers.

That's not good.
posted by Artw at 9:16 AM on July 28, 2008


The site isn't timing out, you're seeing the results. They've indexed 121 billion 404 pages.
posted by Pastabagel at 9:17 AM on July 28, 2008 [9 favorites]


I keep trying to ignore this advertisement"news", but it just isn't going away! I guess I'll have to ignore it harder. Paul Anka, take me away!
posted by leapfrog at 9:17 AM on July 28, 2008


of course culi.com seems to take you to a really nasty italian anal sex site... seems like they would have wanted to pick up a few variations on the domain name before launching just in case of typos.
posted by jenkinsEar at 9:20 AM on July 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


In the bad old days it was extremely common to get back pages full of bogus results that contained every possible variation of common keywords.
posted by burnmp3s at 11:09 AM on July 28


Oh yeah, the 25 lines of background-colored text at the bottom of each page that wasn't there to be read by people but by search engines. I had almost forgotten about that. Blech.
posted by Ynoxas at 9:22 AM on July 28, 2008


What everybody else said. They got some great press on this, too bad the index is shite. A few keyword searches turned up nothing but SEO or the strings found in binary files and not actual websites. gg gg
posted by cavalier at 9:23 AM on July 28, 2008


Even if this things gets really good, it's going to end up like Google, that is, as a search engine for Wikipedia. Like or not, WP organizes the web in a way no search engine can, and it's only going to get better as more people, businesses, etc. start to defensively edit Wikipedia. You = you on Wikipedia.
posted by MarshallPoe at 9:24 AM on July 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


Cuil bizarrely finds the *old* urls for several of my sites, from before I got domain names for them.
posted by Karmakaze at 9:24 AM on July 28, 2008


Cuil? More like "Cull."

As an alum it must be difficult to resist the impulse to drop the Google name, but...oy.

- Will
posted by wenestvedt at 9:26 AM on July 28, 2008


> I think the real problem is that no search engine is ever going to be as good as google in any real sense unless google drops the ball somehow, because few companies are going to have the resources to invest in their engine.

I suspect another problem is that the general public tests every search engine against Google. By which I mean, they will compare the results of keyword and if the matches aren't exactly the same, the new search engine is deemed a failure.

Now, that's not literally true. What I really want to see when I search for keyword are a few specific pages that Google also returns; I may forgive the ordering but only if what I want to see are pushed higher up the list. But what you really want to see are a few different specific pages.

The net result is that we have ceased to compare search engines based on their actual ability to find useful information and are instead comparing search engines on how much they behave like Google. It's a contest Google can't lose.
posted by ardgedee at 9:29 AM on July 28, 2008


I wonder if they'll persist in using this website name in any country where Romance languages are spoken. If so, good luck and all that.
posted by blucevalo at 9:30 AM on July 28, 2008


Ciul is currently failing for reasons irrelevant to how Google-like it is. But since we're incapable of ascertaining search result meaningfulness, except anecdotally, we fall back on judging based on familiarity and expectations.
posted by ardgedee at 9:32 AM on July 28, 2008


Sounds like a cuil reception.

Meh, they just need to throw a 'beta' designation in front of the logo and they'll get another two-three years to refine it.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:36 AM on July 28, 2008


While I really like the black background / blue letters, I just performed my standard test for assessing the value of any search engine (a little 'recherche de moi') and am very sorry to report Cuil's complete and utter failure. Whereas Google lists me as number 1 result for my name (thanks, Sergy!) -- Cuil couldn't even find me on the first five pages. Hate.

I'm too tired to learn new SEO skillz and am thus quietly rooting for Cuil's prompt and eventual demise.

And uh... A soft launch would have been the way to go here, friends.
posted by LakesideOrion at 9:36 AM on July 28, 2008


Product Launch 101: If you think you're going to hit the front page of CNN, make sure you're in good working order.

Otherwise, Cuil should have put up a placeholder page as a teaser. This false start pretty much guarantees that the vast majority of us who dipped a toe this morning won't be coming back for a plunge in the pool.

Reporters and editors will hold stories if you're straight up with them and ask for an embargo; this crappy showing rubs off on CNN, too. It makes CNN look like it's shilling for a crap Alpha-stage product.

On the other hand, it looks like they've done a great job indexing the dreck of the Web.
posted by sadiehawkinstein at 9:37 AM on July 28, 2008


This thing blows.
posted by dobbs at 9:38 AM on July 28, 2008


But since we're incapable of ascertaining search result meaningfulness, except anecdotally, we fall back on judging based on familiarity and expectations.
Are you trying to say that we don't have an way of judging how well something that finds things manages to find what we're looking for?

Cos I think we've got a really good way of doing that: seeing if it finds what we're looking for. Which this doesn't.
posted by bonaldi at 9:38 AM on July 28, 2008


Jesus, you guys try to launch a giant search engine some day. To all the asshats who think "fail" is clever commentary; you go spend years building something and then launch it one day with giant publicity. Show some respect.

That being said, I don't know that Cuil is very exciting. Their primary claim is that they index more pages than anyone else. I don't think that's likely to be very useful to most users. Generally people care about the top 3 results, it's rare that folks really need to dig deep. Also my early tests show Cuil isn't doing relevance ranking very well, my searches were turning up a lot of old useless nagivation pages. Google has an enormous index, really, but they also put a lot of effort into relevance. It may be that Cuil has more pages searchable but if you can't find what you're looking for, it's not much good. I'm hopeful they'll add good date filtering algorithms.

The most interesting claim Cuil is making is they can index 25 billion pages in a weekend. That's really, really fast and quite an accomplishment.

I know a lot of former Google engineers, I'm one myself. The Cuil founder Anna Patterson is the only one I know who seems to make a point of trading on that association in every article about her. It's sort of weird; I think her work with archive.org was way more interesting than anything we know about her work at Google. Recall pretty much presages Cuil, and I remember being really excited when Google hired her because that work was so great.
posted by Nelson at 9:41 AM on July 28, 2008 [5 favorites]


I assume the name is from Irish mythology, given the original 'two L' name and pronunciation.

Wouldn't "cuil" be pronounced more like "quill" in English? And Mac Cuill is named after possibly the least intimidating god ever, the hazel tree.
posted by kirkaracha at 9:41 AM on July 28, 2008


So, I searched on my own name. It showed 12 pages of returns. Returns on the first page ran off the bottom of the page, yet I had no scroll bar in Safari. Arrow down worked. Arrow back up didn't.

Clicked for page two (out of 12)..."Sorry, your search returned no results"

Un-Cuil.
posted by Thorzdad at 9:42 AM on July 28, 2008


Cuil, pronounced "cool",

Ehm... See, to my french ears, this would sound like "couille", which means testicles. Or just drop the "i" and you get "cul", and after all their search results are pretty half-assed.

Not only is the name impossible to spell after hearing it, it also sounds like a dirty word.

Google may look the same 10 years down, but at least it's still there. How about we check in with balls ass Cuil in that same amount of time?
posted by splice at 9:43 AM on July 28, 2008 [2 favorites]


We didn’t find any results for “urban planning”

Some reasons might be...

* a typo. Please check your spelling.
* your search includes a term that is very rare. Try to find a more common substitute.
* too many search terms. Please try fewer terms.

Finally, try to think of different words to describe your search.



Always have to do that with new search engines. My site is usually near the very top of a Google search. Can't believe there's no results, though.
posted by elmwood at 9:44 AM on July 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


I tested it a bit this morning. It seemed to retrieve stuff for my search term, but the results were very poorly weighted -- i.e. really non-relevant hits came up on the first page, while very relevant results did not show up at all within the first few pages. Also, lots of duplicate hits.
posted by statolith at 9:53 AM on July 28, 2008


There's also no "Did you mean "x spelled correctly"?" feature.... Which, can be annoying on google sometimes, but is more helpful, (IMHO) than not, for me... unless I really looking to buy an atomobile....
posted by Debaser626 at 9:56 AM on July 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


your search includes a term that is very rare. Try to find a more common substitute.

Ah, now, just spotted this. Isn't a fundamental point of search engines to help you find comparatively 'rare' information, and point you to the best info sources? For instance, what if I want to find out about coelacanths. That's a relatively rare word, out there in the internets, but a fascinating topic.

Yep, no dice.

800,000 results for Twitter though. All about the micro-blogging service.
posted by Happy Dave at 9:56 AM on July 28, 2008


you go spend years building something and then launch it one day with giant publicity. Show some respect.
If I spent years building an enormous luxury ocean liner, and launched it one day with giant publicity, and it keeled straight over and sped to the bottom in a stream of bubbles and comically pathetic "bloop! blub!" noises, I frankly think the public would be entitled to a good chuckle, which would not be unduly disrespectful given the nature of the performance. (In this analogy, their search engine is the boat. I highlight this point only in case any Cuil engineers are reading because I worry they might not be able to find it otherwise.)
posted by Wolfdog at 9:56 AM on July 28, 2008 [17 favorites]


Backed by $33 million in venture capital,

I suspect from Anna Patterson's perspective, Cuil has worked just fine.
posted by Shepherd at 9:59 AM on July 28, 2008 [6 favorites]


Jesus, you guys try to launch a giant search engine some day.

We're not snarking at what they tried to do, but what they did: built a search engine that doesn't work and then brag that it's better than the best search engine on the web. This thing is laughable.
posted by dobbs at 9:59 AM on July 28, 2008 [2 favorites]


These guys are 'taking on' google in much the same way that a bee might take on a whale, and to about the same effect. It's not the worst thing I've ever seen, and with some work it could actually be an interesting approach.

But it's not there yet.
posted by quin at 9:59 AM on July 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


There are about 75 schools of public health worldwide. And yet, my employer, a US News-rated school of public health, does not come up in the first 100 results in a search for "school of public health."

Google, it's usually the second page. Which does suggest I need to work on our SEO, but still, at least it's in the opening 20 results vs. NOT EVEN LISTED IN THE RESULTS.

Un-Cuil.
posted by dw at 10:01 AM on July 28, 2008


sucks....

"We didn’t find any results for “michigan”

now I have to move...
posted by HuronBob at 10:01 AM on July 28, 2008 [3 favorites]


I've been having trouble with their crawler for quite some time now. It was running through a few dynamically generated pages adding all kinds of slightly related search terms that never returned responses. Yay for malformed requests. When banned in robots.txt, it kept coming back. I eventually blocked them at the firewall, until they changed their ip block to get around people doing that. So when I saw the headlines this morning, I was secretly hoping this wouldn't go over well.
posted by advicepig at 10:01 AM on July 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


Pepsi Buil
posted by Rumple at 10:02 AM on July 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


2,990 results for cuil sucks

So why does it only show me three of the results? None of them helpful, I might add.
posted by malocchio at 10:02 AM on July 28, 2008


Cuil, pronounced "cool"
Not by me, it's not.
posted by Flunkie at 10:04 AM on July 28, 2008


Nelson, I can't feel sorry for them, I'm afraid. sadiehawkinstein said it best: Product Launch 101: If you think you're going to hit the front page of CNN, make sure you're in good working order.

They could have avoided this opening day debacle if they had thought ahead.
posted by jokeefe at 10:09 AM on July 28, 2008


Or what Wolfdog said (with far more brio).
posted by jokeefe at 10:10 AM on July 28, 2008


Nelson writes "Jesus, you guys try to launch a giant search engine some day. To all the asshats who think 'fail' is clever commentary; you go spend years building something and then launch it one day with giant publicity. Show some respect."

First she didn't spend years developing this but two at the most. Second, if you're going to bill your self as competitor to google when you give interviews to CNN you'd better be able to handle that modest traffic. Ex-Google employees should be familiar with the invite only beta test/roll out scheme to generate buzz and avoid a massive single day spike on the system. Generate increasing traffic gradually so that ramp capacity. Instead PR went for a big launch and it backfired.

One thing I did love in a nostalgic kind of way is a search on my username called up the old metafilter wiki page on gmail invite swaps. Thanks again pzarquon.
posted by Mitheral at 10:11 AM on July 28, 2008


> Are you trying to say that we don't have an way of judging how well something that finds things manages to find what we're looking for?

No, I'm saying the tests of everybody in the room can only be treated as anecdotal. The accumulation of evidence is pretty strong that Cuil isn't satisfactory, but we're comparing our satisfaction of $LatestSearchEngine against our satisfaction of Google, and aren't trying to prepare any metrics of general success. I'm not defending Cuil, I'm criticizing the critics.
posted by ardgedee at 10:11 AM on July 28, 2008


Yeah guys, take it easy on the wanna-behemoth of internet searching. Show some respect to the wish-they-still-worked-at-google-and-were-gazillionaires. At least they are out there trying (and by "out there" I mean "doing a lot of marketing" and by "trying" I mean "but failing to deliver a usable product").
posted by DU at 10:12 AM on July 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


For what it's worth, I'll keep falling back to Clusty whenever someone get spyware'd and gets my network banned from Google temporarily.

Cuil seems to suffer from hard-to-remember-and-type name syndrome.
posted by godisdad at 10:12 AM on July 28, 2008


It's absolutely rubbish in every single regard, from the name to the results to the design.
posted by fire&wings at 10:13 AM on July 28, 2008


I checked it out and I am going to stay with google/yahoo for my searching needs. Not because I don't like new things but Google kicks ass. Plus I can't stand the name either. Whoever thought that up isn't clever at all.
posted by Mastercheddaar at 10:14 AM on July 28, 2008


"Cuil" brinsg to mind "coil" for me, which is not good since my mind has been horribly burned forever by this.
posted by Artw at 10:16 AM on July 28, 2008


this is a joke and you have all been duped.
posted by joelf at 10:16 AM on July 28, 2008


I'd like to read that Cuil story, Robocop!
posted by Liosliath at 10:17 AM on July 28, 2008


Cuil, pronounced "cool"

Cuil, pronounced "dead on arrival" ...
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 10:17 AM on July 28, 2008


A lot of the complaints listed here appear to be resolved now. It must have been a problem with the query engine rather than with the index itself. It seems to be returning pretty good results for me at any rate.
posted by JeffK at 10:20 AM on July 28, 2008


Yeah, 'cuil' would be pronounced "quill" or "kew-ill" but definitely not cool.

'cuil' reminds me of 'huile', French for oil.

So while we we're firing people, let's fire the marketing dude(tte).
posted by storybored at 10:21 AM on July 28, 2008


Hold the phone. I take it all back. It worked for about 5 minutes. Now it's craptacular again.
posted by JeffK at 10:24 AM on July 28, 2008


A name which, if typed-as-heard, is guaranteed wrong.

A name which, if read aloud, is impossible to type accurately without an explanation.

A service which offers a find-my-tiny-hotspot on the stupid side of the english-speaking page layout navigation system.

A textbox which changes size and shape while it makes suggestions for what it thinks you mean.

Oh, and silly silly results, as stated at length above.

This may be the first mefi article I've gone ahead and skipped reading just to pile on with

EPIC FAIL.

Google will be beaten, but it will take a combination of new ideas and good ideas. This appears to be neither in spades.
posted by abulafa at 10:25 AM on July 28, 2008


I did the same as all the other MetaFilter egomaniacs, and got offered three results in the first two pages which were illustrated with a real pic of me (yey!) but none of which were related to me. Two took me through to 404s. The third was an invitation to buy books I've written, although my pic wasn't on the subsequent page. The reason for that: number of which in the real world = 0.

So yes, epic fail.
posted by imperium at 10:26 AM on July 28, 2008


No, I'm saying the tests of everybody in the room can only be treated as anecdotal. The accumulation of evidence is pretty strong that Cuil isn't satisfactory, but we're comparing our satisfaction of $LatestSearchEngine against our satisfaction of Google, and aren't trying to prepare any metrics of general success. I'm not defending Cuil, [...]

Cuil is pronounced kuil in Dutch, which means either hole ditch, or cavity.

But, apart from that, a simple way to see which search engine to prefer, is to look at the activity of their spiders. If I compare how Google visit my website compared to Yahoo! or Live!, Google is three to four times as active.

Kuil hasn't even bothered to come by yet.
posted by ijsbrand at 10:26 AM on July 28, 2008


I'm a complete loser, a nobody, yet if I google just my surname my own website is the 4th listing returned on Google. On 'Cuil', however, it doesn't turn up at all.
So I can only conclude that 'Cuil' knows me a lot better than Google pretends to, and is in fact the superior search engine.
posted by Flashman at 10:32 AM on July 28, 2008 [1 favorite]



What is the deal with the images? They (often) have nothing to do with the result they are paired with.
posted by jca at 12:10 PM on July 28 [+] [!]


I don't know but if you search for Suzy Smith, there is a picture of me in my nephew's batman mask alongside an article about a horse trainer.
posted by SuzySmith at 10:33 AM on July 28, 2008


I got it to work but I hated the way it dumps out the page finds -- too much info per link and weird column setup. You can go from 2 to 3 columns to customize but that is the extent of the customization so far. But I also think my brain has been google-ized.
posted by bluesky43 at 10:34 AM on July 28, 2008


On top of the horrible ranking performance, it seems to not support anything beyond basic keyword matching. No boolean queries, no single-site search, no page title search, no PDF indexing — it doesn't even seem to do quoted phrase searches reliably, unless they're extremely common combinations of words.

Plus, a "We didn't find any results" error seems like a crappy failure mode for a product claiming to be more comprehensive than Google. If the server's overloaded, why not come out and say so?
posted by teraflop at 10:35 AM on July 28, 2008


I want my results in a list, top to bottom, scroll down to find results.

I don't want to read left to right or in more than one column when I want to find something within .02secs to 5 seconds, which is about the average time Im on a google result page unless I'm doing some pretty detailed intertubes searches.

And solid black? Really? "Look how elegantly simple this homepage is! Isn't it so like Google only better and different because, hey, its black!" Way too heavy handed.

So yea, epic fail. I feel sorry for the equity firm that invested in this crap.
posted by T.D. Strange at 10:40 AM on July 28, 2008


Oh, hey, look. Free publicity. Now there's something you don't see every day.
posted by Eideteker at 10:45 AM on July 28, 2008


If I were running Google, I'd occasionally fund a startup, purportedly a search engine which 'OMG TAKES ON GOOGLE!' but actually sucks really bad. The purpose of this would be to influence the public to believe than any would-be competitors were a joke and not worth the five seconds necessary to discover this fact.

This is how I'd taint public opinion to automatically assume that anyone wanting to compete in this space would be incompetent, and any competing products are by definition laughably inferior.
posted by mullingitover at 10:46 AM on July 28, 2008 [6 favorites]


Irish c is hard, so a two syllable rendition of cuil could conceivably be "koo-ill"?

Re their incompetent launch, this may explain a lot:


Vince Sollitto, VP of Communications

Vince Sollitto Vince was a spokesman for California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, serving as chief deputy press secretary. Prior to that, he was Vice President of Corporate Communications and External Affairs at PayPal, where he directed public, investor and government relations from the launch of the company’s service, through an initial and secondary public offering, until its acquisition by eBay three years later. He also has served as communications director to a United States Senator, a Congressman, and the U.S. House Select Committee on Homeland Security. Vince has a BA in Public Policy Studies and Political Science from Duke University.

posted by Rumple at 10:47 AM on July 28, 2008 [2 favorites]


I was saying 'Booo-lean.'
posted by Flashman at 10:47 AM on July 28, 2008


Maybe this is where they got their idea of a market niche from....
posted by Rumple at 10:53 AM on July 28, 2008


Did anyone else notice there are no "advanced" search features? Why would anyone make a search engine that doesn't allow you to tailor your search by date — or allow you to search exclusively within a specific website?

Thinking is rubbish, and rubbish isn't cuil. Stuff and shit is cuil.

posted by ProfLinusPauling at 10:56 AM on July 28, 2008


update to my earlier, snarky comment: meh.
posted by puritycontrol at 11:00 AM on July 28, 2008


I guess I should elaborate: my first search yielded zero results.
posted by puritycontrol at 11:02 AM on July 28, 2008


Why does Askmefi have a cartoon fox peering around a tree and a guy playing tennis as its "images"?
posted by sondrialiac at 11:03 AM on July 28, 2008


Jesus, you guys try to launch a giant search engine some day. To all the asshats who think "fail" is clever commentary; you go spend years building something and then launch it one day with giant publicity. Show some respect.
Yeah, I have to say I'm pretty disappointed with all the hate as well, I mean, is having a search engine monopoly really a good idea? I don't believe it is. Innovation ought to be encouraged, not slammed by people who, frankly, couldn't create anything like this in a million years (well, maybe 15 years starting from scratch and learning all the CS that goes into it :P)
The most interesting claim Cuil is making is they can index 25 billion pages in a weekend. That's really, really fast and quite an accomplishment.
Of course as we see, putting stuff into the index isn't as important as getting stuff back out :)
We didn’t find any results for “urban planning”
Always have to do that with new search engines. My site is usually near the very top of a Google search. Can't believe there's no results, though.
Worked for me. It doesn't seem to bring up your site, but is that really a failure? Same with dw's "school of public health" query. Just because the engine doesn't return your site when you'd like it too doesn't mean it isn't useful for people who are out there looking for information, unless you're sure your site is the end-all-be-all on that topic. (Although I suppose it could be)

The fact that they hired a former Paypal P.R. guy as their P.R guy does speak to a certain kind of idiocy, though.
posted by delmoi at 11:10 AM on July 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


christ, what asshuils.
posted by quonsar at 11:12 AM on July 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


Google also has the most darling little drawing of Peter Rabbit on its home page today.

Will Cuil provide such cuteness? I don't think so.
posted by jokeefe at 11:12 AM on July 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


Rumple: "Maybe this is where they got their idea of a market niche from...."

Hey look, inline YouTube video in comments. Is that new?
posted by sveskemus at 11:13 AM on July 28, 2008


unless you're sure your site is the end-all-be-all on that topic. (Although I suppose it could be)

actually, he's right. it is. master's in urban planning here.
posted by desjardins at 11:16 AM on July 28, 2008


The worst part is that some aspects of the page are actually good. I like the way it offers categories, etc when you search.

But that doesn't, unfortunately, make up for the sucking factor. The fact that entering part numbers, etc turns up the empty search page is a massive failure, and on that basis alone I don't see myself using it.
posted by sotonohito at 11:19 AM on July 28, 2008


Yeah, those were some sucky results. Although I did find out that the website doakajay.info is for sale! So long, suckers! I'm probably going to be way too busy counting my website entrepreneur millions to be hanging around here much from now on.
posted by nanojath at 11:23 AM on July 28, 2008


Cuil never shows my personal website, even after going in to 16 pages of results. I gave up after that.
posted by Fuzzy Skinner


Now it won't find my name at all. I get this popular result every time:

We didn’t find any results for “darryl asher”

Some reasons might be...

* a typo. Please check your spelling.
* your search includes a term that is very rare. Try to find a more common substitute.
* too many search terms. Please try fewer terms.
* Cuil.com sucks twin donkeys. Please use Google instead.

Finally, try to think of different words to describe your search.

posted by Fuzzy Skinner at 11:37 AM on July 28, 2008


To all the asshats who think "fail" is clever commentary; you go spend years building something and then launch it one day with giant publicity. Show some respect.

You know, if it were easy, we'd all be doing it. It's hard, we know it's hard, and when someone comes along saying they've got a better way of doing it, we expect that some typical searches will bear this out. They do not. And if they don't have a better way of doing it, why bother?

I'll spot them the slightly goofy layout. I'll even spot them the randomly interspersed images.

Search for "wikipedia." What's the #1 hit? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spanish_Wikipedia . WTF? In fact, the Wikipedia main page—in any language—is not on the first page of results.

Search for "flickr". #1 result is, somewhat bizarrely, http://m.flickr.com/ . Again, their normal front page is nowhere on the first page of results.

When I do some ego-searching, I get bunches of SEO spammer pages that have culled content from my blog.

The images that get interspersed? Where the hell do those come from? Not the pages they're being associated with, AFAICT.

I've tried alternative search engines like Clusty and gotten helpful results out of them. And I agree competition is a good thing. Cuil is not providing it.
posted by adamrice at 11:41 AM on July 28, 2008


I did a search on my (very uncommon) last name. Oddly, the search results placed links to the Homebrew (beer) Digest from the early 90s ahead of my personal site and weblog.
posted by tommasz at 11:44 AM on July 28, 2008


Firefox has detected that the server is redirecting the request for this address in a way that will never complete.

Uhm, what?? Is my browser broken or is that site just not cuil?
posted by zarah at 11:47 AM on July 28, 2008


Zarah, it's the latter:

We’ll be back soon...

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.

Thanks for your patience.

posted by availablelight at 11:52 AM on July 28, 2008


Sounds MobileMe-ish.
posted by hojoki at 12:16 PM on July 28, 2008


Thanks for your patience.

I think I can speak for all of Metafilter when I say, "Why, you're welcome! Anytime."
posted by Solon and Thanks at 12:23 PM on July 28, 2008


(I don't really think I can speak for all of Metafilter. I think doing so would make my head explode.)
posted by Solon and Thanks at 12:26 PM on July 28, 2008


You Maniacs! You blew it up! Ah, damn you! God damn you all to hell!
posted by Fuzzy Skinner at 12:27 PM on July 28, 2008 [3 favorites]


Sounds MobileMe-ish.

Yes, except that giving us an extra month for free would be a disservice.
posted by oaf at 12:28 PM on July 28, 2008


Note to startups: don't claim you have done something 3x better/more numerous than your previous employer's service, if you can't provide the capacity to deliver results from those pages. What are the odds people are going to come back for a second look?
posted by davejay at 12:41 PM on July 28, 2008


Well, at first I kept getting an error message, regardless of search term. Now, I receive, "Due to excessive load, our servers didn't return results. Please try your search again."

I can tell you that I have five primary websites and have yet to see a "cuilbot" (or whatever "cuil" derivation they have chosen for their bot) visit any of these sites.

One thing appears certain -- their PR must be good if their servers are this overloaded (or they're running a single server with a Celeron processor).
posted by Spidermaster at 12:46 PM on July 28, 2008


My feelings on the matter, let me show you them.
posted by everichon at 12:49 PM on July 28, 2008


I Cuiled* my local school district. Got one page, six hits, all from from an employment agency. The district's actual home page is absent, of course.

*Awkward neologism.
posted by SPrintF at 12:59 PM on July 28, 2008


I did a bit of searching before the whole thing went belly-up. I noticed they enjoy displaying graphics somewhat related to the sites at hand in the results screen (Wikipedia got its logo, IMDB got the little IMDB ticket, etc.) When I did an ego search on my own name, I was pleased to see my personal site top the list of results... with an amazon.com logo.

I was not aware of any buyouts. Mr. Bezos, please call.
posted by Spatch at 1:06 PM on July 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


If you're going to put out at new search engine, then you have to absolutely beat the existing champ. Google beat the tar out of Yahoo. Cuil goes down in the first round. What is value added? Why should I choose Cuil over Google? Google works just dandy - I have no complaints - so WHY SHOULD I SWITCH?

Yeah, fail.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 1:08 PM on July 28, 2008


I've been seeing Cuil trawl our site since last fall (The user agent says Twiceler). I interacted with them a bit, as they were ignoring parts of our robots.txt files, and, more intriguingly, appeared to be making up new URLs with wacky parameters and page names. They were quite nice, and promised to ease up a bit. Which makes it all the more frustrating that after they manhandled our limited number of servers, none of our content seems to show up. At all. And yet, tons of SEO spamcrap shows up instead.
posted by Bezbozhnik at 1:15 PM on July 28, 2008


So sad that they couldn't buy cool.com from whatever domain squatter is currently sitting on it, or cool.org from my friend Jenny Cool.
posted by mullingitover at 1:17 PM on July 28, 2008


Cuil is awesome. I know that I'm not the only one who's used google at work to find something relevant to their job only to be distracted by the cornucopia of results - or ended up on some interesting but ultimately non-work related results. Cuil fixes that by returning nothing.

Cuil is the management approved search engine.
posted by substrate at 1:20 PM on July 28, 2008 [3 favorites]


CUIL is disappointing. Sometimes I use IXQUICK but Google is still the best.
posted by yoyo_nyc at 1:27 PM on July 28, 2008


Cuil shows my website next to a picture of Kate Moss. I'm not sure if this is good or bad.

And two of the other pages that get returned on the main results page are Wikipedia arguments about the Wikipedia page about me. Then I wanted to play with it some more but it was all busticated.
posted by jessamyn at 1:47 PM on July 28, 2008


This thing sucks so bad I actually feel embarrassed for the people running it. I guess they're laughing all the way to the bank though.
posted by puke & cry at 1:51 PM on July 28, 2008


Noticed that on Slashdot earlier and did my standard example search: "Banane" (German for "banana", strangely enough). It returned exactly 0 (zero!) results, with Google yielding ~10.500.000 hits.

A search for "banana" worked a bit better: 15.600.000 results in Cuil (~89.500.000 in Google).

Now here's the interesting part: turning off "safe search" in Cuil (enabling "pornography or other objectionable material") gave 1.600.000 hits. What conclusion can we draw from this? IMHO this search engine needs heaping helpings of work, especially in its non-English results.
posted by PontifexPrimus at 1:55 PM on July 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


wait. non-English people use the web? uncuil.
posted by Rumple at 2:08 PM on July 28, 2008


Anyone else remember when Google launched? When it was competing with Yahoo and Altavista, and beat the crap out of them from day one?

Someone will do that to Google, eventually. Not today though.
posted by rusty at 2:08 PM on July 28, 2008


i actually blocked cuil.com from my server about a year ago. it has a sloppy bot that basically was not just crawling by DOWLOADING massive amount of data from my sites. it would come to my main site, culturekitchen and it would try to gobble up 10s of thousands of pages on one crawl. now if you consider that my site has 150K+ pages, that was akin to gigaloading.

it's the reason why you don't get culturekitchen (or The Daily Gotham) when you search my name in their engine. the f*ckers should have paid me for all the times they brought my server down.
posted by liza at 2:13 PM on July 28, 2008


metafilter brings up the above-noted cute cartoon fox picture.
cute foxes brings up the "High Load" error.
cute wolfdog brings up MetaFilter.
posted by Wolfdog at 2:21 PM on July 28, 2008


I noticed the same thing jessamyn did: there seems to be something very screwy about their image thumbnails; I found links to lots of websites which are illustrated with random, unrelated photos.

For example: searching for the title of a micro-budget scifi film I worked on returns a page which mentions a spaceship in the film, named Tiger Shark -- and the link is illustrated with an image of what I assume is an actual tiger shark. (Needless to say, none of the film takes place underwater or involves sea creatures, and the linked page doesn't contain a shark photo.)

If they can't even keep track of which images came from which website, that doesn't bode well for the accuracy of the rest of their results.

I don't even have the consolation of having been replaced by Kate Moss; they've swapped some puffy-looking guy in for me.
posted by ook at 2:21 PM on July 28, 2008


I think the fanciful image associations are the best part of the whole deal, and if I were more motivated I would code up a page that does an actual useful google web search and pairs the results with whatever images cuil thinks are relevant, just for decoration.
posted by Wolfdog at 2:27 PM on July 28, 2008


Huh, according to techcrunch Google's index actually only has 40 billion pages, the 1 trillion number is just the number of (apparently mostly un-indexed) URLs it's discovered.

Someone will do that to Google, eventually. Not today though.

And then Google will buy them.

Actually, as I outlined above I doubt this will ever happen. When google launched the major search engines didn't actually care about the quality of their links. They specifically told Larry and Sergey this when Lerry and Sergey tried to sell their search system (IIRC). The companies were trying to gin up add revenue and improve their 'portals'. Of course, the only reason people actually cared about the portals was that the search results sucked.

As I outlined above, google has been continuously refining their search system over the years, and they're always on the lookout for new tech.
posted by delmoi at 2:44 PM on July 28, 2008


They say it's cool but it looks like quill

That's ruined it for me.
posted by popcassady at 2:44 PM on July 28, 2008


this porcupiney search removed the Kate Moss photo when I turned Safe Search off. I like it because it's Dada, but I don't think that's a reason to switch.
posted by jessamyn at 2:47 PM on July 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


Er, that last comment of mine should only have one "as I outlined above"
posted by delmoi at 2:59 PM on July 28, 2008


I like the way when I did an ego-surf it put the banner off my site onto other site's listings...
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:14 PM on July 28, 2008


Anyone else remember when Google launched? When it was competing with Yahoo and Altavista, and beat the crap out of them from day one?

Yes! I was using AltaVista mostly, and sometimes Dogpile. A friend sent me a link to Google. Within a couple days, I didn't use anything else.
posted by Fuzzy Skinner at 3:18 PM on July 28, 2008


100 "niche search engines"

57 useful google tools
.

The real motivation behind the cuil-de-sac?
posted by Rumple at 3:33 PM on July 28, 2008


I keep thinking of CUIR, which is French for "leather." There's also a gay mens' magazine by that name (since it's pronounced "queer").
posted by desjardins at 3:44 PM on July 28, 2008


I wonder when they dropped the extra L from the name. It was still cuill in April. Even a cutsey logo.
posted by smackfu at 4:02 PM on July 28, 2008


That has got to be a joke? Surely the developers actually used the search engine before releasing a press release. First saw this on the BBC and got half excited. It's just totally awful!

Say I'm looking for garage doors in the UK. I'm going to type Garage Doors UK right? So why take me to an Italian site!?!

and what's that results page about? Talk about unfriendly to the eye.
posted by twistedonion at 4:28 PM on July 28, 2008


What a piece of shit.
posted by loiseau at 4:36 PM on July 28, 2008


Wow, they aren't taking the criticism too well. Amazingly, the CEO is noting that "The product was strong enough to launch," and that they didn't need a beta label.

Wow.
posted by youarenothere at 4:46 PM on July 28, 2008 [2 favorites]


hah, just read the CNN article about it

For starters, Cuil's search index spans 120 billion Web pages.
And that is why the results are irrelevant and crap.

Patterson says Cuil's technology drills into the actual content of a page.
Wow, you'd think Google would have thought about indexing actual content. Bet they are slapping their foreheads now.
posted by twistedonion at 4:47 PM on July 28, 2008


Do any of the MeFi language posse want to weigh in on Cuil's assertion that "cuil" is Irish Gaelic for "knowledge" (or "hazel")? Because every source I can find online says that it means corner, recess or rear. I get the Finn McCool reference, but I've never seen the "cool" bit anglicised as "cuil" before, and I'm not sure McCool's name even had any reference to knowledge anyway, and it all just seems a little bit dodgy...
posted by flashboy at 5:05 PM on July 28, 2008


web 2.0 companies with awful made-up names die die die die die

just shell out the fucking dough to buy a real domain already, jeez

it's like they want us to laugh at them or something
posted by Afroblanco at 5:10 PM on July 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


There are 357,638 results for my name on Cuil, and 739 results on Google. Evidently I'm much cooler on cuil. (Okay, okay, 357,634 of those results aren't me.)
posted by desjardins at 5:28 PM on July 28, 2008


My search for "you don't get a second chance to make a first impression" got "No results because of high load..." Adieu, quill.
posted by kirkaracha at 6:02 PM on July 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


The ultimate sign that a new search engine is a joke:

You do a search for "rock and roll" and you get "Rick Roll'd."
posted by ZachsMind at 6:18 PM on July 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


Typed my wife's name in, just for kicks--her photo came up next to some unrelated site (husband and wife team in Minnesota). Then I looked at p. 2 of results, and her image came up on yet another unrelated site. I clicked through the rest of the first 10 pp. and the same, unrelated picture is on seven of them. It reminds me of the Onion's man-on-the-street interviews, with the same five pictures appearing next to different names and quotes.

I have the impression they are doing that with all the photos. It's a nice visual, but you have to use photos that are somehow connected to the sites adjoining.
posted by palancik at 6:33 PM on July 28, 2008


I agree - searching for my name, didn't bring up my site, which is my name - searching for my company name, brought up unrealted pages of junk. Cuil =FAIL
posted by Willpsy at 6:45 PM on July 28, 2008


This thing is the greatest search engine ever created by man or God. I enter a query, and the response is not merely a list of relevant web sites, but a work of art. A cavalcade of the world's most pertinent information on any possible subject. A monstrous ode to nature and all her spawn. My eyes burn at the filigree of pure knowledge I am presented with. Bravo, Cuil, bravo.

Ok someone had to be contrarian on here.
posted by fungible at 7:13 PM on July 28, 2008


(NSFW) Register.com review of cuil, including ...
"Cuil gives users a richer display of results [such as] images to identify topics," reads the company's press release. And as loyal Reg reader Dr. Jonathan Grattage points out, he and his quantum research are identified with "little pictures of a US serviceman and a guy masturbating over some other poor sap":
So apparently, Jess was lucky to have wound up with Kate Moss.
posted by swell at 7:49 PM on July 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


I just saw a blurb about this on the god damn news that got me thinking of it again. First, why did I just see a blurb about this on the news? Second, what the hell have they spent all this time working on? Searches return results on unrelated topics, SEO bullshit and random images. This is possibly the worse search engine ever created.
posted by puke & cry at 7:58 PM on July 28, 2008


So apparently, Jess was lucky to have wound up with Kate Moss.

"Three men who aren't Jonathan Grattage"

Damn, that was the funniest thing I've seen on el Reg in a hell of a long time.
posted by krinklyfig at 9:19 PM on July 28, 2008


Some of the initial blog coverage of this story extended the hype. I must applaud Cuil's PR people for managing to get such overwhelming launch coverage, initially positive - although after bloggers actually started using the product the tone of the coverage changed accordingly.

The fact is, Cuil is a very ordinary product right now. In my own tests last night, I was left underwhelmed. Our official post today summed up our views: this is an average product that does not live up to its own hype, the NYT's hype, or the hype bestowed upon it by noted bloggers and those who thought they got a "scoop".
posted by delmoi at 9:26 PM on July 28, 2008


Trying out Cuil, I search for the Romanian writer Emil Cioran. The first link leads to an article about him in Spike Magazine. Next to the article there are small pictures of the covers of nine of his books. And then, at the bottom of the page, an ad gif: "Visit the UK's favourite site for sex toys!" Guess which of these images Cuil chooses to display next to the search result?
posted by Termite at 4:04 AM on July 29, 2008


I love that CNet article.

"We are trying to give people different results." Cuil is pitched as an alternative to traditional search engines, and users should not expect the results to be the same.

If google gives me the results I want, why are you so determined to give me those results I don't care about, or even remotely pertain to my search? Different indeed.
posted by splice at 5:34 AM on July 29, 2008


Cuil's Privacy Policy: "when you search with Cuil, we do not collect any personally identifiable information, period. We have no idea who sends queries: not by name, not by IP address, and not by cookies (more on this later). Your search history is your business, not ours."

Google's Privacy Highlights: Google collects personal information when you register for a Google service or otherwise voluntarily provide such information. We may combine personal information collected from you with information from other Google services or third parties to provide a better user experience, including customizing content for you. (...) Google's servers automatically record information when you visit our website or use some of our products, including the URL, IP address, browser type and language, and the date and time of your request.
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 6:29 AM on July 29, 2008


Interesting category that Cuil suggests for you on a search for "hot babes"...

This could either be a massive fail or a massive win, depending on who's doing the search, I guess.
posted by flashboy at 6:33 AM on July 29, 2008


Good thing you had SafeSearch On there, flashboy.
posted by adamrice at 7:11 AM on July 29, 2008


A Trinity College Dublin alumni mailing list that I occasionally get noticed that Cuil's CEO is Tom Costello, who was mildly amusing during my time there for his habit of playing Hitler's speeches at full volume out of convenient windows to annoy the nearby Socialist Workers' collective. A Trinity College sociopolitical agitprop society there also occasionally convened closed central committee sessions on April 20, which aroused much suspicion and general hubbub. When disgraced UK historian and convicted Holocaust Denier David Irving was invited, once upon a time, to lecture in the society's meeting hall, the Trotskyists protested strenuously outside on a platform of "No Free Speech for Fascists", which struck me as somehow mildly dissonant.

Amazingly enough, none of this shows up in Cuil's index. Let's see how it looks a month from now.

Sarah Carey, another TCD alumni and college associate of Costello, is doing PR for Cuil. She formerly did PR for Cape Clear, another Irish-rich b2b company that launched to push XML SOAPy stuff just as everyone was moving to REST.
posted by meehawl at 10:05 AM on July 29, 2008 [2 favorites]


not bad as an alternative. but unimpressive as a google killer.
posted by musicmaverick at 10:32 AM on July 29, 2008


over an hour after the 5.4 magnitude quake, 'earthquake los angeles' brings up nothing.

FAIL
posted by sexyrobot at 12:55 PM on July 29, 2008


I'm not a Cuil-apologist, but I'm not sure that tbe lack of recent news in the index is a fair criticism. To me that seems like a very different animal. Maybe I'm thinking of it from a technology point-of-view, not a user's point-of-view, though.
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 1:11 PM on July 29, 2008


Yay, random gay porn
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 2:11 PM on July 29, 2008


This is not a useful website. One wonders if they were forced to launch prematurely by the money men or something, because even ignoring the load problems, when it does 'work', it still didn't return any useful results on any of the queries I tried.

A real headscratcher, this one.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:50 PM on July 29, 2008


flashboy: "I'm not sure McCool's name even had any reference to knowledge anyway, and it all just seems a little bit dodgy..."

Fionn mac Cumhaill helped the bard Finn Eces catch and cook the Salmon of Knowledge and, inadvertently, ate of it before Finn Eces by sucking on his thumb. It's all very subtextual.
posted by meehawl at 5:19 PM on July 29, 2008


Don't search for buildr. NSFW
posted by sparkletone at 7:08 PM on July 29, 2008


Now, you would think CNN would test it out before supporting it? But it seems if you search for CNN, the results are all from cnn.com. They probably only tested with their own name. Scary news reporting. In my opinion, that is even worse than the horrible cuil search results.
posted by Vaike at 10:00 AM on July 30, 2008


"I am unaware myself of the meaning 'knowledge' being with the word 'cuil' in Irish," Stiofán Ó Deoráin, an official on Foras na Gaeilge's terminology committee, said...
posted by flashboy at 4:16 AM on July 31, 2008


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