Thursday, July 31, 2008

Not Cuil, Man...

It seems there's a new search engine in town. Cuil¹  is made by a few of the folks who brought you Google. I like Google, it does what I need it to do without giving me too much garbage or sponsored nonsense. Cuil would have had to impress me quite a bit to make me think about looking elsewhere for my web-searching needs, anyway, but I figured I'd give it a shot (new and cool things, and whatnot).

I started trying to get to the site when I heard that it had publicly launched on Monday. I had planned on writing up a quick 'first impressions' blog about it that evening (by which time I would have hopefully had a taste of what Cuil was capable of). As it turns out, if I would have written that post, it would have been empty. I tried 10-15 times to access the site that day, succeeding in getting to the main page twice, and succeeding in searching for anything zero times. I tried my name once, figured that might be a bit obscure, then tried 'Descent', both times it slowed to beyond crawling, then eventually just spit up a blank page.

I've been trying the site off and on all week, both from home and work, with no success. Most of the time, I can't get the main page to come up, and when I can, searching hasn't worked for me. Not once. Sometimes, it will bring up something resembling a search results page, but it will invariably be empty.

So, in the end, here's what I do know about Cuil.

* It has a very pretty front page.

* It has a very lofty opinion of itself (noting that it's index is 3 times larger than any of its competitors - which may or may not be true)

* When it does work, it's slow & kind of buggy (I'm not the only one who has noted this)

* It requires exact spelling when it does work.(that alone means I'll be using Google)

Eventually, I figure that I'll be able to use Cuil to its full potential, but even then, it looks as if that full potential might be mostly smoke and mirrors compared to the 'Google-killer' status that was bestowed upon it. It's not a Google-killer... not even a little bit. It's a heavily overhyped, underwhelming search engine that pretty much exemplifies the dot-com era of the late-90's.



¹ - The Gaelic word the search engine's name is based off is pronounced 'que-ill', not quite 'cool', like other websites are saying, making the pun in today's title a little more unforgivable.

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