By | July 28, 2008

Well folks I am back home and my little Silicon Valley project is out of stealth.

At 9pm PST, 5am our time, Cuil was unleashed upon the world. So now when you are going mad rephrasing search queries on Google, you can try Cuil instead.

It has a huge index, 120 billion pages; it ranks based on content; it displays results magazine style in columns and with images so you can see more and my favourite; it offers you up categories and subject drilldown to help you explore a topic especially when you don’t know much about a topic and don’t know the “right query” to enter. Try searching for Ireland as an example and check out the tabs on the top and then the “drilldown” on the right. Then go to the bottom of the page and click “add to firefox”!!

And for privacy advocates – Cuil doesn’t log users’ search activities. Your search history is safe.

One note: this blog, I discovered, had a redirect on its robot.txt files which made it tricky to crawl. If your blog is not showing up it might have the same issue. So either stop any robot redirects (if that makes sense!) or email and ask Jim to make sure you are crawled.

Some early coverage

LA Times

Financial Times

New York Times


Venture Beat


63 thoughts on “Cuil

  1. Braz

    Its a nice start and good luck to them. It will take a bit of time for the indexes to get created, trimmed, managed, and optimised so lads take a pill. Hell with the best cloud computing, EC2 or whatever you still end up with the odd hickup (Amazon lots a couple of hours and had god knows how many pissed started ups for their EC2). On a more familiar note, lads – the twitter whale, like c’mon they’re around a bit and they’ve still not got the rails sorted with memcaching to the hilt it still sometimes just takes a bath.

    Dan pointed out something, so jobs for PhDs in Comp Sci … how about one with lots of expertise in hci, usability, as well as some bits of programming ? The is a bit vague. I’m sure I could easily pass it along to a bunch of the recent UL Comp Sci PhDs, drop me email with details.

  2. B


    Cuil isn’t set up to find anything of relevence to the user.

    The site isn’t alpha, beta or anything. Its presented as the final result. The company fell in love with the technology and expected the world to rotate the way they want it to. This approcah works in Ireland where people can be bullied into believing that black is white but not in the rest of the world.

    Nobody gives a flying French Connection what Cuil means and most can’t spell it. It may as well have been in Klingon.

    My dog could find more relevant things. I tried to like it. I wanted to like it but I think that it left out the users.

  3. Dan Sullivan

    B, given that you’re either not even blogging or merely hiding who you are I’m content to take your comments about other people leaving out the user with a pinch of salt. You can talk about what it does and doesn’t do but from where do you know that it “isn’t set up to find anything of relevence to the user.” You’re making it up as you go along as the Pythons would say.

    I’m quite happy to give cuil some space for me and everyone else work out if it is going to be of any use to me just as I am the other newish search engine I mentioned before. And which Sarah didn’t mod out. And any others that come along. For the record, I’ve worked and done work for IBM and Microsoft amongst others and have no beef with any tech company and will happily pass judgement on the technology itself without seeking divine motives like arrogance in the producers. B, stealing from Roger Moore but it sounds to me like there is a four letter word and you’re both the first letter of it and full of it.

  4. B

    Wow. Just say it. I am full of shit. Nothing like a personalised attack first thing in the morning.

    They still left the user out. The technology might be state of the art but if it fails to interact with how the human works what is the point. The technology I am sure is brilliant. Technology alone is not the full answer.

    I worked for IBM too so whats the big deal?

  5. Paul Moloney

    “The site isn’t alpha, beta or anything. Its presented as the final result. ”

    See, that’s the problem. When Google originally launched, there was almost no fanfare; people just gradually discovered a rather boring almost-monochrome website that wasn’t overloaded with widgets and ads and loaded quickly – important especially in pre-broadband days. (It’s still only 16k) They allowed it to gradually catch on and get plaudits and awards and eventually it became a behemoth.

    The Cuil hype was extraordinary – a big day 1 launch of a search engine. I can’t remember the last time any search engine – or indeed any web site – got launched with such a press frenzy. So people presumed the product would match the hype. And when it didn’t, they scoffed. Unfortunately, that’s what happens.


  6. Electron

    The fact that ranking is not dependent on hit count will break the US monopoly on e-comm. – google is a rip off and is the only game in town at the moment. We’ve given up advertising with them and now advertise our site in the old fashioned way using specialist press. Cuil’s approach may catch a wave from despondent e-commers who are continuously subjected to culling by google’s ranking methods

  7. Braz

    Electron – that’s a good point giving that everybody I know who works for Google believes they’re in a marketing company and I don’t know anyone there who isn’t highly technical. Google without AdSense and all the rest would mean that their primary income would disappear. I don’t know how many Google ad campaigns I heard stories about with key word costing going random thru the roof. I suspect its the fault of click monkeys or gold farmers, which are tacitly supported by Google when its not stomped down fast and hard. The stomping rarely happens alas.

    B – in fairness, it took both Yahoo and Google quite a long time to realise that they needed usability departments, I doubt that Cuil have got more than a handful of usability engineers, if at all. Usability, done properly takes time. I’ll happily give them the space to get it right. Lots of new start-ups in the last two years don’t get it right, if they don’t they fail so why worry. The Internet Web 2.0 is the Darwinian evolution in action, time will tell.

  8. John Smyth

    I’m surprised that Cuil don’t have a blog to communicate with users, particularly to inform them of glitches, forthcoming stuff, cool [or is it cuil] tricks for users to optimize their searches, etc.(your example above, typing your url into the search will tell Cuil to index it the next time around).

    Cuil will succeed in one of two ways :- they will get as good as Google really fast or they will be bought up by Microsoft or Yahoo. As for the fact that it took 10 years for Google to get where it is – doesn’t matter. No-one is looking for a state-of-the-art 1998 search engine. Apple didn’t adopt that attitude with the iPhone.

    On the plus side, the use interface is very clear and user friendly, and the drop-links seem to be working better today than at launch (due to less traffic, I presume). The images still don’t seem to match the context of the search but that might improve in time.

    Hope it works out – competition is good.

  9. Pete

    I haven’t yet had time to try out Cuil, so can’t comment on it, but the name just makes me cringe. Hopefully I’m in the minority. I think that most of the world will just see it as a stupid, uncool misspelling of Cool. From a brand-building point of view, “cuiling” doesn’t work very well as a verb, which is one of Google’s big wins.

  10. Pingback: Search is not a solved problem « Returned Emigrant

  11. Paul

    Cuil, my arse!, You lot dont even know the meaning of the word ‘knowledge’ yeah right!!!! more rubbish on the internet is just what we need.

    Can I suggest Sarah as a ‘strategist’ to Cuil, that you divest both your time and money from this venture. Stick to the Sunday Times.
    Then again how about Cuil Windows or Cuil Linux??

    I’m left thinking ‘snowball and hell’

  12. Darren J. Prior

    I don’t understand why when I type my name in on google or cuil or whatever my blog doesn’t come up. Does anyone know why?

  13. Guy Bague

    So tell us then Sarah. What kind of visa do you have to work in my country? H-1B? I, L-1A? Greencard? Citizenship?

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