Why fix it? It isn't broken.

by Volker Weber

Yesterday marks the day that a new "Google killer" entered the fold. Cuil.com got a lot of link love and I tried it myself. At first it could not keep up with traffic, then the search results were somewhat strange, adding a random picture to each hit.

Beyond the curiosity it begs the question: why bother? Looking at my search engine referrers, everybody and their grandmother uses Google. There is the occasional hit from Microsoft or Yahoo, but basically it's Google. And that's what I turn to if I want to find something. With excellent results, delivered fast. Why would I use anything else?

You tell me.


Because some people think it is broken?

Can't see it myself, but some people think that either Google should be psychic, and second guess their bad search terms.

Others think that its results should remain static forever - and get peeved when they change, despite the fact that the underlying data is obviously in a shifting state too. I find that incredibly unreasonable, but apparently it's becoming more common as a viewpoint (or so I'm assured).

Personally, I welcome a little competition. Yahoo!'s results aren't that bad, and I'm using it a little more these days to get "second opinions".

But yeah, Cuil's results are just weird. Certainly not up to Google's standard, or Yahoo!'s, or even Live Search's.

I'm sure over time it will improve. But it's playing a game that ended over four years ago - search engines by themselves aren't much use these days.

Your search engine in a webmail system, or an on-line office suite, or an group mailing list? Delivering both quick search and targeted advertising?
That's where it's at.

And I can't see Cuil delivering that kind of service anytime soon, especially with these kinds of search results...

Philip Storry, 2008-07-29

the pictures are really wiered...the results are okayish imo, and the site is sleek.

The only thing i really liked compared to google is, that you can choose between 2 and 3 colums to show your results. That uses large screens much better, is a pain thugh onmobile divicces

johannes matzke, 2008-07-29

It isn't that good. I searched for "Ständerat" and got weird results, mixing "Bundesrat" and other things. I think I stay with goooooooogle.

Christian Tillmanns, 2008-07-29

In fairness, it most likely has more users on it then Livesearch already ;)

Paul Mooney, 2008-07-29

Perhaps the reason to consider other search engines has a lot to do with "not putting all your eggs in one basket". MS-DOS did a great job and why would anyone want PC-DOS ? Then MS-DOS became Windows and XP and Visa. Wordperfect, Ami Pro, and Wordstar all fell to MS Office. Office was good, right ? So you end up with a corporate giant that is so large and ubiquitous that they start behaving like they are the only game in town and you must accept their business practices - whether you like them or not. Google does search very well. They track every query, ever click, and from every user (identified by account or IP address and cookie). Their business is not search, it's advertising. And they do that through data processing all of our queries, clicks, and identity (account or IP and cookie).

Glen Salmon, 2008-07-29

As they say, they focused on content quality and weight for your searched terms instead of the popularity of the content. They have commitment to not involve your personal search history as well, so that makes the difference with Google.

I tried yesterday to search some things but the results are weird....

Google rulez (for now.)


Alex Hernandez, 2008-07-29

Why do you have more than one cell phone? You can do your phone calls with all of them. Why more than one car manufacturer. No competition – no improvements. Google is fine, but for me they are getting to powerful. People already think, what they do not find with Google, does not exit. To dangerous.

Wolfram Votteler, 2008-07-29

There are folks who want the status quo to stay as is (because it's in their favor and comfort zone), and then there are hungry engineers ;-) But you already know that yourself.
Besides, Cuil claims that their index of pages is vastly bigger than Googles. Imagine that.

Thomas Gumz, 2008-07-29

Ok, I also tried to cuil myself at Google. And what do I see? Lots of pages, also vowe.net but not my own Blog and Homepage. Seems to be great for english sites but not for those in german... :-(

I think I will stay at Google...for the moment ;-)

Alper Iseri, 2008-07-29

The current state of things at cuil lead me to believe that the engineers will remain hungry. :-)

Seriously, if you want a piece of that search pie, you have to be better than Google. A shitload better. Shitload is an engineering term, isn't it?

Volker Weber, 2008-07-29

Sometimes better things are the loosers at the end, like video 2000 and Betamax. Microsoft was and is not the best, but still winning.

Wolfram Votteler, 2008-07-29

Google collects data like mad. It gives "personalized" results - although I have not the slightest idea how the parameters are set.

I prefer unbiased information, and I dislike my habits being analysed and used. I want to keep my electronic self to myself.

But I´m german, tht might account for much.

On Cuil: Interface is much nicer, results are more to the point, less garbage and more precise.

The pictures they throw in at random are a nuisance. A russian outsourcer and they show the face of an Indian guy? WTF!

Armin Roth, 2008-07-29

If it might help me find what I'm looking for then I'll try it. I'm often put off by the number of sites selling what i want to learn about - pushing the actual site concerning the product way down the list of results.

Ian Bradbury, 2008-07-30

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