New Search Engine on the Loose

California-based Cuil (pronounced “Cool”) launched a new search engine today that claims to have a larger index than Google (120 billion pages) and is aiming to rival the search giant in the search business. This claim seems to have more credibility than other recent search engine start-ups (WikiaSearch, Mahalo) given that the company founders are search experts themselves as well as being ex-Google execs.

At first glance, it seems that Cuil’s claim to have a larger index may be a slight exaggeration. In the few comparative searches I ran, Google seems to return at least 5 times more results. But that’s pure quantity and we all know that we rarely get past the first 2 pages anyway…

What’s more interesting and definitely very exciting is the innovative search interface Cuil presents its users.

  • The “auto-complete” feature in the search box is simple but useful. It’s almost a basic feature nowadays (except in Google)
  • Most top-notch super excellent feature is the “category bar” just below the search box which suggests broad content categories for what you happen to be searching for.
  • Similarly excellent is the “explore by category” box on the right. One of the nicest things here are the tooltips you get when you hover over a link with a very good summary of the topic/webpage.
It’s good to note that the above is not just “eye-candy” but is intimately tied to the knowledge base and search index that Cuil maintains.
On the downside, relevance of results is not always up to scratch. Popular sites like Wikipedia and IMDB don’t often feature in search results. However, I would guess that Cuil presents a bigger threat to the Big G than MSN or Yahoo ever did.
To have a go just go to http://www.cuil.com.

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