Yesterday, former Google employees introduced a brand new search engine called Cuil (pronounced “Cool” or maybe “Kewl.”)
Before the site debuted, there was quite a bit of excitement on the Internet. Once it was available… Well, all that excitement exploded in a fireball of debris.
The website itself quickly went popular on Digg.com, only to have the notorious “Digg effect” crash the site. Yes, you read that correctly. A *SEARCH ENGINE* crashed from too many users.
Now, to be fair, the interface on Cuil is beautiful and elegant. It’s very pleasing to the eye, almost relaxing. I’d love to use Cuil. I really would. Unfortunately, it has some major flaws. For one, the search results are awful. It doesn’t even recognize “George W. Bush” when the period is included after the W (check out this submission on Digg for more details.)
Of course, to test the efficacy of Cuil, I initially ran a search on my name. My blog appeared on the first page of results. My website, however, which is listed at the beginning of a Google search, doesn’t show up on Cuil for pages and pages. A lot of people are experiencing the same problem, with some people’s websites just not showing up at all when, on Google, the same websites rank first.
Sure, maybe Cuil just shows a different set of search results that we might not find on Google. Maybe it’s even set up to show us listings that are on page 1,598 of Google. That would be lame enough, but it gets worse.
If you notice, Cuil has a handy feature that places a photo next to many of the search results. This would be great… if the photo had anything to do with the link next to it! For some reason, Cuil likes to place completely random photos next to search listings. Do you think I’m kidding? Check out these screenshots from when I looked up my own name:
Cuil couldn’t find my website, but it did find a random resume I put on Go Freelance. But what’s the deal with the picture next to it: “I Am Who I Am” with the subtitle, “Your approval isn’t needed. :}” Umm, what the heck? Is Cuil sending me subliminal messages or something? What messages am I going to see next? “You’re Good Enough!” “Wow! So Beautiful!” or maybe “Donate to Barack Obama!”
I guess while I’m at it, I should address the horse graphic next to another of my links in Cuil’s search.
I don’t know what the heck that horse graphic is about! Cuil was kind enough to pull up an obscure paper I co-wrote for AEJMC while I was in graduate school. Never mind that the description over the link is NOT for the paper I wrote. And the horse graphic? It’s more of a “WTF” moment. Translation: I don’t know why it’s there. A subliminal message to start riding horses?
Not content to just Google myself, I looked up some people who visit this blog too. 🙂 Oh, I guess I can’t use “Google” for Cuil. How about “rip roaring adventure down an Internet search apparently based on drug-induced hallucinations”?
First, I am convinced that Amy Vernon has paid off Cuil. 😉 Her blog showed up first in Cuil’s search results. Not only that, but check out the pic next to the link:
While my listing (when my blog finally does appear) shows a random sci-fi pic that I never actually used in my blog, Amy’s link proudly boasts: “Top 100 Television Sites!” Now, I’ve got to be honest, her blog is pretty awesome. So in this case, Cuil is accurate. But I still think she paid them off. 😉
It’s OK though, because apparently Kevin Tracy did too. A search for Kevin Tracy reveals:
Not only does his blog get top billing, but it’s accompanied by a photo of a presidential candidate! And all I got was a cartoon horse? So… Cuil is telling Amy that she has the top website, Kevin that he should be president, and me… That I should ride cartoon horses and have more self esteem.
But wait, I’m not done yet! I had to look up my friend Cindy Gordon, a very talented professional photographer. Her website also received top billing. Unfortunately, Cuil confused Cindy herself for an elderly man with a thick beard:
Last but certainly not least, I looked up Adam Riggins, a frequent commenter on this blog. Here is Cuil’s result:
Sorry Adam. 😦