Sunday, August 10, 2008

Not Cuil Yet

There's a new search engine in town, (pronounced cool). Several ex-Google people created this new search engine, which like Google itself, aims to index everything on the web.

After some brief and non-scientific testing, I think Google is safe for a while. Cuil includes pictures in some of its results, but when I did searches that included some results from this blog, if a picture was included, it was not from my blog. I noticed on some searches for my own music that some of the returned pictures are from me, but they are from web sites that are completely unrelated to the site where my music was found (e.g., Orbiter graphics or air show photos). Weird.

A simple search such as "starfest aldrich" produced no results (Google: 504, including several hits for recent blog posts of mine on last night's excellent Starfest event). Changing the case of s or a changes the results but not very usefully (why should a search string be case sensitive unless this is a preference setting?).

I did a bunch of other searches for things where I know what some results should include (e.g., in optical design and illumination simulation), and cuil's results were disappointing. Sometimes I use Yahoo search in addition to Google, just to see what shows up near the top. I might use cuil the same way sometimes, but based on my limited testing, this is 1.0 software and doesn't seem to bring much to the party so far (wait for 2.0).


Anonymous said...

I've noticed that its behaviour with variants of different search terms is a bit inconsistent (Try 433 .v. 433rd).

As well, there seems to be no help available on how to search so if there are options or advanced techniques they aren't well advertised.

At least Cuil found your site. I just found links to mine.

Chris said...

Cuil is definitely going for it, but it's hard to imagine them doing anything but incremental changes to what Google's done. And even that would take years of effort. has taken a different tack. We have a full web index, but we change the results based on the surfing activity of our user base (now over 2,000,000). It's in alpha, but I'd be curious to hear your thoughts.