Not Quite There Yet

By rachbasarachbasa (1254281203|%a, %b %e at %I:%M%p)

Today I discovered there is another search engine trying to compete with the big boy search engines: Google, Bing, Yahoo, and Ask. This relatively new search engine is Cuil, which means knowledge. On July 28, 2008 the site went live. Upon landing at the home page I was extremely excited to discover that it searches more than three times as many sites as Google and ten times as many sites as Microsoft! I instantly felt excited thinking I could discover three times as much information as I usually do, since I typically use Google to conduct my searches.

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To test this new search engine I tried to conduct the experiment we were supposed to do for class on Monday the 28th of September. Unfortunately, I was not able to test the same query because Cuil does not have the intitle: feature. Disappointed, I realized I would have to conduct another experiment to determine if Cuil was a reliable search engine worth using. To conduct this experiment I made “top business schools in America” my query. Upon entering my query in the Cuil search box, I went through and evaluated all ten of the sites it generated. Much to my dismay, only six of them offered information I considered relevant. I then evaluated my query on Google.com and found that it generated ten relevant sites. Then I went to Yahoo.com and Bing.com and found that they retrieved nine and seven relevant sites respectively. Of all the sites that Google, Yahoo, and Bing generated, only one of the sites that Google generated and one of the sites that Yahoo generated were also generated by Cuil. Next I looked at the number of search results. Cuil generated 4412 results, Google generated 78,900,000 results, Yahoo generated 275,000,000 results, and Bing generated 423,000,000 results. As you can imagine I was shocked. Cuil only generated 4,412 results and it claims to be the search engine with the most pages indexed. I couldn’t help but wonder were the owners of this site lying?

As I continued playing around on Cuil, I discovered that it does offer a couple of features that other major search engines do not.

  • Cuil does not keep track of the searches you do and does not use your IP address to determine your location. For those of you who find it creepy that Google knows exactly where you are when you conduct a search and keeps track of all the searches you do, Cuil is for you! It is the noncreepy search engine.
  • Beside many of the search results Cuil generates are little thumbnail pictures, which can be nice.
  • Often times after entering a search query, on the right hand side of the page a list of related categories will generate. Under the heading of each category are a number of different related searches. For example, I searched Michigan football and the categories that popped up were: University of Michigan Athletics, Michigan Wolverines Athletic Directors, Michigan Wolverines Football Coaches, Big Ten Conference, Central Collegiate Hockey Association, University of Michigan Sports Venues, Michigan Wolverines Football, Head Coaches of American Football, and Michigan Wolverines Football Players. Under each of these categories were searches that fit the category title. If you let your mouse hover over a search result in one of the categories, a brief description/definition of the term pops up in a box on your screen.
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In summation, I was disappointed with my experience at Cuil.com. I did really like the categories that are generated on the side of search results with the short definitions that would pop up, but that feature was not significant enough to make up for the fact that the search engine could not generate very good results. In the near future, I do not see myself using Cuil.com. Maybe in years to come this search engine will be capable of generating better results and then it might have a chance to enter the race with Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft.

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