Monday, July 28, 2008

Cuil or UnCuil?

What with Google's world dominance in search, it's no surprise that yet another upstart wants to succeed where giants (e.g., Yahoo, Microsoft) have failed: trying to wrest a share of search away from the king.

You'd think the launch of the Cuil search engine (pronounced 'cool' for those who are in the know or just plain obnoxious) would represent a best shot. It has as it's parents, afterall, former Google engineers with oodles of search savvy.

All I can say after trying it is: um, not ready.

It does have a nicely designed search results page--clean results and images to help users parse the results...but the results can leave something to be desired.

I tried several searches, but one in particular pointed out some serious issues: searching on my name in combination with that of my employer...the result had a picture of a NASCAR announcer who goes by my name as an integral part of the result that links to a university page and text results for someone else entirely.

I certainly didn't expect my picture to appear, but clearly Cuil has mixed several elements from very different sources to create a single, mashup result: and that's uncool. Though it purports to have many more results for the same terms than Google, it only displays one. Google, not only displays more, but the results happen to be accurate.

For now, google would seem to remain the King of Cool Search. Perhaps Cuil will work itself out. Maybe I'll give it another try: but I'd need a real good reason to switch.

Here's screen grabs of my sample self search:

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