Monday, July 28, 2008

competition for google?

I heard them mention on the radio today some new search engine called cool, although it's spelled cuil. They boast that they have indexed 3x as much content as google has.

I've tried 2 searches on them so far and I'm not impressed. Search results took a while to show up on my first search, which was for the maximum memory card size for my camera. It returned just 3 results. The #1 result was for a website which doesn't appear to exist anymore. The 2nd result was also for a website which doesn't exist anymore. Just some parked domain name with a bunch of ads on it now. The 3rd and final result was at least almost on topic. It pulled up a page selling a similar model camera with a bunch of user comments on it. Although no where is my particular model mentioned on the page.

I tried a 2nd search at random for some information related to an online game. Cuil returned ZERO results. Google returned pages of results, although I admit I didn't look past the first page since the first search result was all I really would have needed.

In both searches i typed in the exact same words. I used it without any quotes since I think the average user doesn't use quotes when searching.

There is one thing about cuil I like - if you happen to actually get a page or two worth of results, they display the results in 2 or 3 columns, so you can see more results on the page then with google. You get more a little more sumary text and you get a small image displayed next to each result. Although it would probably be a good idea for them to offer an option to turn off the little image in favor of speeding up the page and having more room for text.

With cuil's layout, I got 8 results in my 3rd search on the top of the page without scrolling, compared to 7 results on google. And cuil gave me a little more text for each result compared to google as well.

In my opinion, isn't ready for prime time yet. Their search results are too sporadic and inaccurate. And their site takes way too long to return the results. Although it's possible this slow down is just growing pains. If they just recently got a lot of press, maybe their servers are getting hammered right now.

I would give them plus marks for the display of the information when they do return relevant results. They do give you a choice of displaying 2 or 3 columns, however, the size of the columns does not change, so it's rather pointless.

I'd say wait 2-3 months and check back.

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