So new search upstart Cuil launched this week – with a search index currently at 120 billion pages (and growing).

They’ve got high-profile founders (a bunch of ex Googlers) and a heap of VC cash ($33 million).

So – only two questions

  1. Quality of offering
  2. Chance of success

How good is Cuil’s search?

Doing a side by side comparison with Google is unfair – Cuil launched yesterday while Google has had years to get it right. Regardless of how fair it was I thought I’d do the ultimate vanity-search acid test to check results.

First up the pretender;


Cuil found a heap of results. Most, other than a LinkedIn crawl, came from my previous blog which has been dead and buried for nearly a year (well it’s still there but no real traffic of note and no posting/comments.

And the current champ;


Google faired better. While the old blog came up in the results, the new one ( appears at spot three with my LinkedIn profile down to number five or so.

So overall it seems Cuil has done an initial scrape of the easily accessible information (LinkedIn is a lot of pages, pretty readily indexed)

What chance the pretender?

I’m fortunate that I wasn’t blogging back in Google’s early years – I’m sure I would have denied that they had any chance of beating the incumbents at the time – how wrong I would have been!

Having said that the Internet is a very different place now – Google has created themselves a pretty compelling argument around search – look at the number of toolbars out there all pushing out Google search – what would it take for a newcomer to beat the Plexers? It’s take a whole different level of search quality, but more importantly it would take a whole different level of compelling business model.

Cuil is pushing there new look search result display – this however is no killer feature. An interesting point of differentiation is that Cuil doesn’t retain users search data or surfing habits – possibly a bonus to the conspiracists out there but not enough to knock Google off any time soon.

Bottom line? – Cuil looks cool but don’t expect it to be a multi billion dollar company any time soon

Ben Kepes

Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.


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