So, like all the geeks and many curious users, I tried my chance at this Google-killer. The first impression when I arrived to the website was good: the design is simple, clean and at the same time more elegant than Google. Good point. Then, I tried a simple query, “Windows”. The result presentation is quite nice, in a newspaper style with several columns, and with intuitive links to related queries and categories.

Now, for the results themselves, the first match is Appl… what? My flight through this nice UI, looking for content about “Windows”, ended on www.apple.com? Hum, this must be a joke. Let’s try to find Romhack.Net… what, no relevant link? Although this blog is the first match for this query on both Google and Live? And almost the same by typing my name? And the same by typing “Cuil”???

Number of relevant results out of the top 10 links (default engine)

Google

Live

Cuil

Windows

6/10

5/10

1/10

Romhack.Net

7/10

10/10

0/10

my name

9/10

10/10

2/10

Cuil

10/10

0/10

0/10

As you can see, although it claims to have the biggest index in the world, Cuil is currently no match to Google or even Live. True, it is only the beginning, and actually I am not judging the effort nor the underlying algorithms, not even the future success of the engine. But with such a shadow advertisement, we could expect something much better, or at least functional. In the end, in spite of the nice UI and the good ideas, Cuil is really disappointing, being not usable today for standard queries.

Even worse, by playing with the buzz, it possibly doomed itself. From the many users who tried it, a huge majority will continue to use Google and forget about Cuil without any second-thought. Whatever is its potential, its life started with a bad reputation that will be difficult to overcome… remember Windows Vista? This is the price to pay when your marketing weapon backfires against you…

Cuil, victim of its own marketing strategy
Cuil, victim of its own marketing strategy