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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Cuil: The ISHTAR of search engines!

You might have heard about Cuil: a new search engine, the founders of which have stated is going to be a "Google killer". It went online a couple days ago and I've tried it a number of times since then, growing more frustrated with each attempt to determine how exactly Cuil is supposed to be useful. It claims to have indexed more pages than Google. And maybe it has, and all those pages really are sitting in a database somewhere in Cuil's corporate headquarters. But if so, the algorithms needed to access 'em are shot to Hell. Doing a search for myself in regard to the Viacom mess last year turned up photographs of a robot and an NBA basketball player. And the results don't even seem consistent from one search to the next, either...

This thing cost upwards of $33 million to start up. Kinda makes Cuil the Ishtar of search engines, when you think about it.

Cade Metz at The Register has written an enlightening - and hilarious - essay about what seems to have gone wrong with Cuil. It reads frighteningly close to what happened at ION Storm (John Romero's now-defunct game company that promised to "make you his bitch"), given the ratio of wild promises to burn rate of venture capital.

Whatever is going on over there, Cuil's owners need to fix things fast, or else their little project will be a vague memory by Christmas.


Brian (Nunchux) said...

I HAD to go try for myself. "Chris Knight Viacom" gave me basketball, female pop singers, etc. Also, the pictures that it displays next to each result, do those actually have anything to do with the website being linked to or even the search results? Page 1 shows one group of pictures, then every subsequent page shows the same pictures, just slightly reordered. And none of them are you, go figure!! :) THAT would have been too much to ask, I believe.