Whatever Happened to the Google Killer?

Back in July of this year, the internet was buzzing with news that a new search engine was coming, a Google-Killer that could unseat the giant of the search engine world. Part of the buzz surrounding this product was the fact that it was being designed by former Google employees Anna Patterson, Russell Power, and Louis Monier. This supposed Google-Killer was called Cuil (pronounced cool). So what happened? Google is still the giant of the search engine world, and most people probably don’t even remember Cuil since its launch at the end of July of 2008. Did it collapse? Has Cuil shut down? What happened to this highly touted search engine that was supposed to draw us all away from Google? Like most of those that attempt to overtake Google (see MSN Live, Yahoo, Ask, Excite, Alta Vista, really just about anybody), Cuil just didn’t have what it took to draw users away from the search engine that has quickly come to dominate everything we do with the web. Some blamed the preponderance of irrelevant search results that Cuil seemed to like displaying. Others blamed the unconventional style with which Cuil displayed results (see image below). But what really killed Cuil? In the end, the only thing that killed Cuil was Google. Not by actively battling them, but by simply doing what they do – being the best. Sure, Cuil claimed to have more sites indexed than any other search engine, but by returning irrelevant search results, it didn’t matter how many websites they had indexed, nobody could find what they were looking for. Google continues to capture around...

Is Cuil the Internet startup Joke of the Year?

Every Internet startup company deserves a chance to prove itself. Unless, of course, that startup comes out of the gate and immediately starts making bombastic claims like “We’re better than Google” and “we index more of the web then they do.” Then an examiner has every right to shove that startup under a microscope and pull out its insides. But, in Cuil’s case, you don’t need to pick apart its internal organs to uncover its deficiencies. In fact, all you have to do is a simple long tail search, like “how to train a cat.” So, what’s wrong with this picture? Well, for starters, if Cuil has 120 billion pages indexed, then why is it only displaying about three thousand for this keyword, which is roughly 29 million less than what Google shows. Secondly, why are there two pictures of dogs on the page? I recall searching for cats. Thirdly, why is there a Tropicana can on the page? I could go on, but I’ll stop in the interest of time. Now, I don’t wish Cuil to fail. Quite the contrary, I think any competition in the search space is desirable. But, sadly, I think Cuil may end up going down in history as one of the most “borked” Internet startup companies of all time. Venture capitalists gave 33 million to a search engine that couldn’t even handle long tail searches on its launch date. Seriously? Have we entered the twilight zone? Ever heard of a soft opening, Cuil? If their algorithm was truly going to be as underdeveloped as it was on its launch date, they should have...