Ex Google Staffers Launch Cuil Search With Spotty Access

By Clint Boulton  |  Posted 2008-07-28 Print this article Print

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Here is another detail that is sure to thrill privacy paranoiacs obsessed with how much information Google stores about them: by ranking pages based on content instead of clicks, Cuil doesn't collect IP addresses or search histories.

This is a fine distinction, but not one that will help Cuil target users with more relevant advertising the way Google has with user information. But maybe that has no bearing. Cuil will try to beat Google by being not only better but bigger, and for less money.

How broad is Cuil? In indexing more than 120 billion Web pages, Cuil claims it combines the biggest Web index with the ability to render relevant results by analyzing Web page content. Cuil said Google indexes about 40 billion pages.

Google won't reveal the number of pages it indexes, but in a side note, the company July 25 launched a preemptive strike to Cuil when it announced that its systems that process links on the Web topped the 1 trillion unique URLs mark.

The blog post, from Google software engineers Jesse Alpert and Nissan Hajaj, made light of the number of pages indexed quotient, noting:

We don't index every one of those trillion pages -- many of them are similar to each other, or represent auto-generated content... that isn't very useful to searchers. But we're proud to have the most comprehensive index of any search engine, and our goal always has been to index all the world's data.

Even if Cuil indexes three times as many Web pages as Google, the search leader needn't worry. If users can't access the content through Cuil, there is no threat. For Cuil, the promise of better search is nullified by our inability to access it.

Moreover, Yahoo, Microsoft and Ask.com, the other three larger top-line search engines, have tried desperately and in vain to make changes to topple Google.

They've had little success; Google has continued to grow market share worldwide. Microsoft went so far as to snap up Powerset to help its lackluster search share. Perhaps Yahoo or some other company will grab Cuil for the same reason.

No matter. How many companies have launched promising better approaches to something Google does? Proximic, for one, claims to provide better contextual advertising than Google.

To this point, Google has smote all challengers.



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