This morning around 8 a.m. EDT, I entered www.cuil.com to check out search startup Cuil (pronounced "cool" and derived from an Irish word for knowledge), which July 28 launched its own unique approach to organizing the ridiculous glut of information on the Web.
My point was to learn what I could about the company, its founders and its overall approach before giving it a spin. In this matter, I succeeded. What I didn't try at the time was the search engine. I figured there would be plenty enough time for that later when I was more awake to test it.
Boy, was that a judgment error. I haven't been able to get in since, which is a major problem for a company that wants to nibble at Google's 70 percent search market share in the U.S. I'm not suffering from delusions; TechCrunch had a hard time getting in earlier today, too.
As a startup comprised largely of former Googleers, Cuil should know it can't prebrief tons of technology reporters, get lots of press about being a Google killer, and then launch a search engine that won't let everyone who wants to try it access it.
Yet that is exactly what Cuil has done. What a shame. In the meantime, here's the background on Cuil.
Cuil the company was created by Stanford University graduates Tom Costello, CEO, and his wife, Anna Patterson, who is president and COO.
Costello researched and developed search engines at Stanford University and IBM, while Patterson was most recently an architect of the Google's large search index and led a Web page ranking team.
Patterson and Costello felt limited by the constraints of the company's traditional link analysis and traffic ranking, which picks the 10 most popular links. So, the duo created Cuil and have impressed investors enough to bank $33 million in venture capital funding.
Cuil's technology analyzes the context of each page and the concepts behind each query. It then organizes any similar search results into groups and sorts them by category in three columns across the page in magazine-style fashion.
What does this mean for users? In short, better search results, though TechCrunch and several others who have tested Cuil said the superior search result claims are overrated.
Cuil also offers unique organizing features, such as tabs to clarify subjects, images to identify topics and "search refining suggestions" to help guide users to the results they seek.