Whatever Happened to the Google Killer?

Posted on November 14, 2008 · Posted in Google, Search Engines

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?

Cuil's unorthodox way of displaying search results.

Cuil's unorthodox way of displaying search results.

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 80% of the search engine market, while Cuil has slipped to roughly less than half a percent (0.005% of total search traffic to be specific). Cuil isn’t the first to try and claim the title of being a Google-Killer, and they certainly won’t be the last, but one thing is for sure…there is no such thing as a Google-Killer. At least not yet.