Cuil Takes on Google and 5 Simple Reasons Why it Will Fail

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Here comes another challenger who wants to take on Google search and the way it indexes and organizes the web. From some ex-Googlers come, Cuil – being touted as an innovative search engine that brags of indexing 120 billion pages. That’s three times the number of pages indexed and crawled by Google folks.

What else? Cuil is also going against the traditional way of presenting web search results page through its magazine style SERPs. Cuil display search results in three-column tabular page (can also be set into 2-columns display) with synopsis of what those pages are about (probably taken from meta description tags) Aside from this tabular presentation of search results, Cuil also provides search refinements (almost similar to search within search?) through a “explore by category” tabs.

Now, how does Cuil does all these?

Cuil (pronounced as COOL) provides organized and relevant results based on Web page content analysis. The search engine goes beyond today’s search techniques of link analysis and traffic ranking to analyze the context of each page and the concepts behind each query. It then organizes similar search results into groups and sorts them by category.

In addition, and perhaps another reason why Cuil is certainly taking up on Google is policy on “Complete privacy protection”. Meaning it does not keep any personally identifiable information on users and their search histories.

The question now is, can Cuil match up against Google? Personally, I don’t think so. And here are five simple reasons why.

  1. The black, white and blue mixture of color doesn’t emit an “X” factor. It’s bland, its boring and it simply doesn’t have the “IT” factor.
  2. The 3 column layout won’t just cut it, even if you reset it into a 2 column layout. Users are so used to the usual one column layout of SERPs, plain and simple.
  3. The search refinements/suggestions through “explore by category” tag is confusing. Search engine experts can immediately grasp it, but not the common folks, who use search engines to find information fast, users who are so used to be given with just links and who quickly click on links that they deemed useful.
  4. The synopsis doesn’t do anything as well. It just adds to the weight of Cuil’s search results page. Nobody would read those texts, users will click on the first sign of an anchor link.
  5. Cuil (pronounced as cool) doesn’t sound cool as a name for a search engine who wants to beat the crap out of Google.

Now, is the time to react folks.

Arnold Zafra
Arnold Zafra writes daily on the announcements by Google,, Yahoo & MSN along with how these announcements effect web publishers. He is currently building three niche blogs covering iPad News, Google Android Phones and E-Book Readers.
Arnold Zafra
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  • Mercy

    I tried searching for “Nokia 6639 reviews” in both Google and Cuil. Cuil displayed as many as results but many with irrelevant results, but in Google I found many relevant results displayed at least in first page of the SERP. I don’t think this Cuil is as comprehensive as explained by them self.

  • Dejan Petrovic

    Epic fail.

  • RB!

    @Mercy You have to remember that Cuil (stupid name) is only what, a day old, while Google has had TEN years to perfect their seach engine algorithm, I’m sure they’ll be a decent search engine in the years to come, they really have to change their name though

    Mark my words, Hakai will be the number one search engine within ten years, semantic search is the future

  • Mercy

    @RB – I agree semantic search would rule the world and Google would also into semantic search into near future. I am very sure abt this.

  • joel cohen

    None of my 15 network of advertising agencies sites show up in the results. On a search of “advertising agencies Miami” there were no results at all.

  • kaushik

    # 6,360,000 for watch movies online – Google
    38 results for watch movies online – Cuil

    # This is what happens if you do a typo:

    We didn’t find any results for “angilina julie wallpapers”

    Returned results=0

    Enough said.

  • gid

    We strikes me as odd is that when you do a search for “Baby Slings” all of my competitors sites are listed, but they are using images off of my website next to my competitors links!!!

    On page one for my search terms they have two of my images showing, but again not my site. The reason I know they are my images is because they are my family members in the pictures.

  • A

    im trying to like Cuil .. everyone likes an underdog and I quite like the black background home page and waffle about Irish Salmon and hazelnuts .. but the jokes on us it seems…
    $33 MILLION !!!!

  • B

    hmmm.. so if it doesn base search on popularity, but instead…. general context of the search termhow does it RANK the pages !!! it can’t even HYPERLINK its own site – I clicked on About ( and got this ..

    Oops! We couldn’t find that page.

    Please verify that the URL is correct and try again.

    O and when everyone is supposedly being ‘ Cuil’ you get this message…

    Due to overwhelming interest, our Cuil servers are running a bit hot right
    now. The search engine is momentarily unavailable as we add more

    Thanks for your patience.

  • C

    Hmmm.. had they not anticipated that if EVERYONE would be using Cuil instead of Google.. surely they would have to cope with the demand… where did that $33 million go ???? Not in the HARDWARE required to run a half decent search engine like Google with all its Custom Servers, etc… Theres one thing the Google Guys got right was they invested heavily in the HARDWARE … 3 times the index ??? Cuil is nothing more than a bloated directory .. its not a search engine !!!!!!!!!!!!


  • ip4294967296


    We didn’t find any results for “CUIL”

    Some reasons might be…
    a typo. Please check your spelling.
    your search includes a term that is very rare. Try to find a more common substitute.
    too many search terms. Please try fewer terms.

    Finally, try to think of different words to describe your search.

    About Cuil | Your Privacy

  • Trezora – Fashion Jewelry, Art Glass


    I have the opposite problem – they are associating an image of someone elses jewelry with my site.

    My take is this: they are a startup that has been burning through money and their board of directors pushed them to launch before they were really ready. They have one shot to really fix the OBVIOUS issues and I guarantee that they are scrambling right now to address this fiasco which ain’t so cool after all.

  • J Lee

    Meh, not so good. To compete against G you’re gonna need an adwords/adsense type model along with a ton of cash to throw at webmasters to display your ads until users shift to your search engine for comfort. Yahoo has an adsense/adwords model but no extra cash. Microsoft has lots of cash. G only fears microhoo. Nothing else can touch them.

  • Jaan Kanellis

    #6 …. no one uses it.

  • WebSite Design Orange County

    I agree with J Lee, Meh!

  • Dan

    it launched today and already is an epic failure?

  • Mark

    If I search “search engines” or “Internet search” on Cuil….. does not come up……. Might want to fix that……

    The name? Hey, what the heck kind of name was Google in the beginning….. Now it is ubiquitous.

  • Michael Martinez

    In terms of design and usability, Cuil has more going for it than Google.

    In terms of search index and depth, Google does seem to provide more data than Cuil.

    In terms of consistent quality, Cuil seems to provide better results than Google, but there are some glaring holes.

    In terms of diversity and complexity of coverage, Google does a far better job than Cuil on its first day.

    All that said, it will take 1-2 years for us to learn what kind of a search engine Cuil really can be. It is WAY too soon to be writing them off the list of potential major search engines.

  • D

    No results because of high load…
    Due to excessive load, our servers didn’t return results. Please try your search again

  • zelrik

    First I want to say that this website is poorly coded. Not being able to handle a theme properly is just ridiculous. (I am refering to the comment field being black over black :/)

    So now about the topic, I think cuil will win in the end. Its weaknesses are mostly due to a very young status. I already like several of their search features and their privacy policies (Yes, policies DO MATTER)

    1 – I like their theme that fits so well with mine =) (which is not the case of this website! :/)

    2 – I like it so far and that is just the beginning

    3 – I like this feature

    4- I like this feature

    5 – cuil is cool

  • Tiki

    You guys are already complaining and the engine isnt even a day old yet! Give it a few months and i think this might be the next REAL search engine as google has turned into a joke with their PR garbage,paid links scandal, and sites that cant be even be found for there own name!

    Ohhh by the way ive already removed googles toolbar and replaced it with this one ūüôā

  • Clement

    Folks, I do not think anyone will be able to outsmart Google. Not even the combination of Yahoo! and Microsoft. Last year, we used to hear about an Australian startup,, which made a lot of noise.As of now, I don’t if they it is alive. Cuil will also disappear with time.

  • X

    It just isnt smart enough … it doesnt matter that its new – Cuil have had over 10 years to analyze how search engines work ! The people that are running the show only know 10% of whats needed to do proper search… all they know is how to index!! Cuil is nothing more than a directory. I still dont understand how they rank their pages… This is where the power in Google lies.

  • venkat

    yea i agree with many points of the author- the homepage is black and boring, the search results with the lengthy descriptions look cumbersome and heavy, and with the lack of simple 1 column format , it looks more like a news page, and the name cuil isnt cool by any means.

  • Money Waterway

    It is always being good to have some serious folks around for competing with the big-G and big-Y.

    Making money online is tough and big-G domination make it worst. Find a way to make a lot of money online, build a money waterway and connect it into your bank account is an ultimate dream for many Internet Marketers.


  • Odtaa

    I actually like the potential of Cuil, despite its name. If its indexing in a different way to Google it means that where you page after page of SEO maxed sites you may get some difference.

    The summaries are useful and it helps me sort out the wheat from the chaff.

    I accept that it needs to sort out typos.

    And yes the front page is very average.

    But I’ll use it as an alternative to Google and see how it goes.

  • Hairy Carrot

    I did the obvious and searched for myself. None of my businesses or affiliated (business or personal) showed up. They all do with Yahoo, Google and the rest. I’ll give it time, but they can’t hope for the public to be patient.

  • knit4knots

    Google was new once. Tried it and I’m hooked … nuff said ;o)

  • X

    knit4knots, yes google was new once, and it was vastly better then before the ad model !

  • Velvet Blues

    I’m still a Google fan… Although, I agree it is probably good for Google to get some competition… Then Google can get even better. ūüôā

    I think it’ll be a while before it gets any worthwhile competition.

  • Shyam

    Check scour… Looks like future of search engines

  • Arun Radhakrishnan

    The irony is that even if Cuil has a more relevant search and a better UI, its just not possible to change habits. It won’t take a better competitor to beat Google but a worse performance on Google’s part to drive away users. That does not seem to be happening for now.

  • LOP

    In first days Cuil couldnt find itself. Now appeared in first place, but if I type Cuil Search Engine, it doesnt appear at all, or Cuil Search. How is the rank system?

  • Web Design Romania

    Cuil has just been started, remember the old days when nobody liked Google ?! what do you say now ?!

  • sam daman

    Epic Fail X2!