Programming Blog

Jeremy Morgan

Mostly Coherent Ramblings of a Silicon Forest Software Developer

Should We Be Thinking About Cuil?

By: Jeremy Morgan

Cuil is a startup who has created a search engine they say can spider more content faster and cheaper than Google. They have received a surprising amount of press, most likely because some of the founders of cuil are ex employees of Google. Should we be paying attention?

What is so special about Cuil? If Cuil plans to earn a spot in the search engine arena, they will have to provide something completely unique and different than anything Google has. So far, from a user perspective, I noticed that I like the cosmetics of the interface however it’s not terribly useful.

The simple search box in front is nice, but google has that also. When you perform a search, your results are placed into boxes that fill up the page, with a photo attached to most listings. While this looks neat, I can’t see it being that nice when you are searching for something for hours on end. Who hasn’t perused through 10 or more pages on google looking for something? Their simple listings are nice, and with cuil you seem to get more clutter when doing the same thing.

The listings also seem outdated for some things, and maybe I’m just bitter because my site doesn’t show up at all. In fact I noticed a few sites that haven’t been spidered yet.

One positive note, the spammers have yet to discover it, or they are being weeded out well. I had a hard time finding spam pages.

Will the public embrace it?

There is no doubt that webmasters and marketers will pay attention to this new, flashy search engine. But will users embrace it? That remains to be seen. Here are a few disadvantages:

People know Google. It’s a verb now. habits are hard to break. Some people are still using metacrawler. The name is confusing, and can be misspelled. The name is not memorable. The buzz wont last for long. After that they need substance.

There is no doubt that we should be mindful of this new search engine, but for the time being I won’t be investing any serious time in optimizing for their site. I don’t see enough to lure the masses away, and once the hype dies down, its likely they will collect dust. While there is a lot of buzz going on now, it can be forgotten tommorow.

Like other marketers, I will keep my eye on the site, and attempt to get some pages in there. I’ll check my logs to see if they’re even sending anyone. But as far as going out of my way… not yet. Only time will tell whether this flash in the pan will actually succeed. After all, nobody thought Yahoo would ever be topped, and it only took a few short years for Google to become #1. And what it will take to succeed is converting enough average, ordinary users to the site. We’ll see how it goes.