Cuil, a new search engine developed by former Google employees, is taking the stage today. It’s pronounced cool, but written Cuil, and annoyingly Web 2.0 looking, but it’s also a new take on search. With about $33 million in venture funding, and a bunch of search brainiacs, can Cuil make it where so many have, sort of, just made it, in a so what, sort of way? It may do if today’s announcement doesn’t crash the site.
Cuil’s search index boast 120 billion Web pages, and Google recently claimed a trillion. Numbers that take into consideration the diversity and size of the Web, but also include the crappy one pagers that are put up by domain parkers and spammers. However, a quick play with Cuil, and you’ll notice that it delivers search results in a column format that is more akin to a publication layout then, a typical search result listing.The Cuil folk claim to use datamining techniques to drill down deeper into the content of a page, and provide more visual keys to help rank the relevance of pages in a search result listing.
Bearing in mind that Microsoft and Yahoo have spent untold millions trying to get at Google, no one at Google is going to be too interested to swat at flies on this one. Yet, it doesn’t take much for a Web audience to change allegiances. If people take to Cuil’s interface, and it delivers results then, Google fatigue may take over. Not that all that fancy Ask.com advertising, Microsoft Live audience buying, and Yahoo begging did much for them.
Nevertheless, this is the first time that Google faces a direct challenge from people who had the keys to the kingdom at the Googleplex. Founder and President, Ann Patterson, joined Google in 2004. She held a number of key technology leadership positions centered around Google’s search indices. Her husband, CEO Tom Costello, also has a long standing search engine pedigree. Louis Monier, VP of Products, was a founding CTO of Alta Vista, which wasn’t that bad in its day. They’ve got game, dude.
"Since we met at Stanford, Tom and I have shared a vision of the ideal search engine," said Anna Patterson, President and COO of Cuil. "Our team approaches search differently. By leveraging our expertise in search architecture and relevance methods, we’ve built a more efficient yet richer search engine from the ground up. The Internet has grown and we think it’s time search did too."
This is all Silicon Valley fodder. The tech pundits in the valley like to see scientists create stuff that is different and takes on the status quo. I just wish their site was working a little better for this launch. Still a few hours before everyone else gets up. Maybe they’ll have a better time of it.