It’s only been a few days since the new search engine Cuil launched, and already it’s been tarred, feathered, and ridden out of town on a rail. It’s hard to believe that just that Monday the press was calling the site a potential “Google Killer” – and that things turned so quickly. While it’s not necessarily surprising that Cuil hasn’t been totally embraced with open arms—Google’s a verb, which says all you need to know about how deeply ingrained it’s become in popular culture— it strikes us that there was one huge flaw in Cuil’s business plan (and PR): they never gave a convincing argument regarding why they’re any better than Google or any other search engine.
Think about it: Cuil’s hook is that it searches three times as many web pages as Google. The problem is that the search results don’t actually support that. We tried a bunch of Cuil searches, and aside from the way the results are organized, could detect no real difference from Google. That’s a problem. Beyond that, why should anyone care whether their spiders crawl more pages and return more results than other search engines? Frankly, Google already serves up 20 pages of crap along with the two relevant pages of search results that they dig up for most searches—so why does anyone need 80 pages of garbage to sift through?
The bottom line is that nothing about Cuil is exciting enough, or different enough to warrant using it instead of Google. But what do you think? While it’s way too early to call this a failure (to be fair, they’ve been up and running for less than a week), what’s your take on what went wrong?
(pssst…if you want to weigh on what it would take to lure you away from Google, check out this week’s survey question.)