At some point in our lives, we have said, “I can do it better than my employer”. It’s a fact of life of being a minion for some company that has driven you like an Alaskan sled dog in Death Valley during the middle of summer. The realization usually comes some point after you crawl out of a fetal position after work. For most of us that’s as far as the thought goes. For a few daring, brave people that choose to gamble free time, hard earned savings, credit, and sometimes their very souls they go out and actually try to do it better than their former employers. That is just what the people behind the site Cuil.com are trying to do. They want to build a better search engine. Better than Google.
Anna Patterson worked at Google for two years and helped build some of the core structures of the company’s search engine, including some of the formulas it uses for ranking search results. Together with other Google alumni, including her husband Tom Costello, Russell Power, who worked with Patterson on the Google’s massive index, Louis Monier, a former chief technology officer for AltaVista along with about 30 other employees, they are trying to build a better search engine than Google's. A huge undertaking considering Google has over 61% of the search engine market share.
Cuil, (pronounced cool) claims that their Index is larger than any other. Hmmm. A quick search for my website ‘haipyng’, returned a single garbage listing. At least Google, Yahoo, and MSN can find me, even when I can’t find myself. Danny Sullivan, editor of Search Engine Land, rightly points out that more web pages indexed doesn’t mean better results. There are plenty of junk pages out there that are nothing more than links to other sites.
Just for kicks I asked Cuil.com to search for “Cuil” thinking I might get some results about the company. Nope. I get results pertaining to the Highlands in Scotland. Not a peep about Cuil.com on their own search engine in the first page of results. None of the category choices lead to anything to do with search engines. Google on the other hand gives me Cuil.com on the first listing.
Cuil.com has an interesting way of looking at search engine results, but it still seems to need some work. It also has to batter past many other search engines before it can even approach the big boys, let alone the king of the search engine hill, Google. I’m not convinced that I see anything in Cuil that would make me use it.
I admire their determination. They dream big and who wouldn’t think it was just…well, cool to beat out their former employers at their own game. Take a look at it. Do you see anything that would convince you to use Cuil?