I wanted to believe, I really did. When I first saw the buzz about the new alternative to Google, Cuil, I looked into it optimistically. Cuil states a mission of not wanting to invade your privacy on searches, and touts very intelligent search functions, but so far in toying with the engine I feel unsatisfied. That is a poor place to start for a web searcher looking to combat the Colossus that Google represents.
Here’s the example I’ll give to highlight exactly how I feel about Cuil, discounting things like speed or layout design which will inevitably change. Ordinarily when using Google and I am looking for a Wikipedia page I’ll add “wiki” somewhere in the search phrase. I decided to give that a shot with Cuil and look up information on, oh let’s say, bees. Cuil couldn’t recognize the shortened term “wiki” and returned a “no information found” message. I normally don’t see that kind of message on Google except when I’m looking for something that is just so specific it would be nearly impossible to find a match (I.e. bee wiki October 14th Mexico Paul).
So instead “bee wiki” morphed into “bee Wikipedia,” to accommodate for Cuil’s insistence on full terms. I was not satisfied with the results. I got zero Wikipedia entries on what I was looking for, and what I did get was a Wikipedia page about a Krazy Bee Mixed Martial Arts dojo in Japan, among other equally asinine returns. What took the cake for me is that the kind of information I was looking for, just a simple wiki page on bees, was there but it was on the Creation Science wiki. I am flabbergasted that I got a Creationist wiki entry for bees, which seemed pretty accurate sadly, but absolutely no regular Wikipedia entries.
If Cuil is hoping to take over Google’s market using a poorly designed search engine that emphasizes protecting against invasion of privacy, what they could have done instead is actually mastered the search side of things. If they wanted to focus on protecting against the invasion of privacy, why not develop a program or web tool that guards against such things? It would likely go over much more smoothly. Cuil is looking, in my opinion, to be dead on arrival. I'm sure Microsoft is already eying them up as a possible acquisition.