by David J. Bilinsky
July 29, 2008.
♫ I tried my best to let you know
That I’m not trying to test you
It’s just so hard to let you go
When I have nothing against you…♫
Words and music by Midtown
It was just a matter of time. It isn’t that I have anything against you, Google, indeed I have learned so much from you, but in time, all things must end. Alas, I have found another.
Cuil (pronounced cool) is the new well, Cool search engine in town. And she is big – very big – so big that the developers of Cuil claim that she searches three times as many web pages as Google and ten times as many as Microsoft. When you are looking for a reference, it is reassuring that your search engine goes deep – very deep.
But it isn’t just the depth of the search that is determinative. Cuil claims that it ranks pages not based on popularity of a web page, but rather on their content and relevance. This has important consequences. Since popularity is not on their radar screen, there is no need to retain personal search histories. Your search history is always private!
The way information (Cuil is the irish word for knowledge) is displayed is also different, too. Rather than seeing Google Adwords on the right, you see a box “Explore by Category” in the upper right hand side of the screen. This box contains a listing of subjects related to your search and you can roll-over them to see related information displayed relevant to your search. If you ‘hover’ over an ‘Explore by Category’ item, a definition will also appear.
Searches are displayed in an array; each cell containing information on the ‘hit’. The searches typically contain graphics as well as information on the hit as well as the required web link. Furthermore, Cuil displays “Tabs” of information, each of which contains other choices closely related to your search. When you submit a query, Cuil displays a list of suggestions allowing you to look before you leap.
On the Cuil website, there is a handy “Add Cuil to Firefox” link to place Cuil inside the quick search box on the toolbar (which for me includes Wikipedia, Merriam-Webster and other ‘must have’ links).
So – Google – old buddy, old pal – it isn’t that I have anything against you..