Quick Look: cuil.com

Cuil.com, just released to the public two days ago, is a new search engine that’s out to take on the giants that are Google, MSN, and Yahoo with a giant of it’s own; it’s super huge index database. But does it work?

To test this, I picked a subject that not many people know about; the TeleFirst (or Tele1st) system. The TeleFirst system was a old broadcast service that was created by ABC that would deliver movies and shows through an encrypted/scrambled channel that users would decrypt through a monstrous box and record on their VCR’s overnight. Unfortunately the service never made it through it’s test market.

I begun by doing a few searches on Google (using the terms “Telefirst” and “Tele1st”), then doing the same searches on cuil, MSN, and Yahoo. Then I counted how many relevant items (pages that at least mentioned what I was looking for) were found on the first page of each of the results. I also counted how many spam pages and broken links I found listed as well. I didn’t count sub-results, results that are indented to signify they are from the same site. Here are my findings:

Search Results for “Telefirst”

Revelant Spam Broken
Google: 1 1 1
Cuil: 2 7 1
Yahoo: 1 0 2
MSN: 1 0 1

Search Results for “Tele1st”

Revelant Spam Broken
Google: 6 1 0
Cuil: 4 2 5
Yahoo: 8 1 0
MSN: 1 0 0

Although cuil did manage to get more relevant links in the first term results, it also managed to get more spam links, (I included two sites in the count that were borderline spam, and were flagged by Firefox to be dangerous). Additionally, the two relevant links that were shown by cuil were not pages mainly about the subject; they were only pages that had a link to a page about the subject on the same site. It’s strange that cuil didn’t pick that more relevant page instead. Google, MSN, and Yahoo were able to do it; their relevant links were in fact that page in question.

In conclusion, Cuil has a bit more to go before they can top any of the big guns. Although their massive index is an unique factor in their offering, it will be their algorithm that makes the winning play.

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