Is it finally here? A real rival for Google (Nasdaq: GOOG)? Execs at the new startup search engine, Cuil (pronounced "cool"), seem to think so. And, seeing as the founders are former Google employees, there's a chance they know something about search.
Founded by two ex-Googlers (who happen to be married), Anna Patterson and Tom Costello, Cuil launched last night, with $33 million in its pockets from two rounds of financing.
Cuil claims to have 120 billion pages indexed, allegedly making it the largest search engine on the Web. (Google does not reveal the size of its index.) Also, rather than traditional search results found on Google, with a snippet of text and the occasional image, Cuil's pages provide a larger chunk of text and more images. Results appear in two or three columns. According to The New York Times, Cuil is using data mining to group results pages by content.
With regard to its über index, however, the engine to beat Google won't just be one with more results, but more relevant results. One can essentially find anything on Google. The issue is how often your desired result is buried beneath erroneous links. (While both equally delicious, mailbox spam and spam fajitas, for example, are a tad different in context.)
New startup search engines are launching all the time, donning the label "Potential Google Killer." Some we've discussed on Internet Evolution include Wikia Search, Mahalo, and Topicle. We even speculated Google death when Microsoft started offering its users money to use its search tool.
But the end result is always the same. At first, we all Ooh and Ahh. "This one could really do it!" we cry out joyfully, hugging bunnies in our midst. But after five minutes, we return to our Googling, leaving it to someone else to initiate and popularize the new engine.
So I, as your everyday hero, have decided to take one for the team by making Cuil my browser's home page this week. I will use the search engine over the course of the week and report back on my success, failures, and if I had to go running back to Google for answers.
While it might not be a Google-killer per se, it might just be cuil to have a real alternative.
— Nicole Ferraro, Site Editor, Internet Evolution