Monday, 28 July 2008

First look at the new search engine Cuil

Cuil, pronounced Cool is taking on the big boys!

Well a new search engine is always good and this one makes wonderful claims:
"The Internet has grown exponentially in the last fifteen years but search engines have not kept up—until now. Cuil searches more pages on the Web than anyone else—three times as many as Google and ten times as many as Microsoft."
I do like the way it presents its results, a three column, very tidy display that is easy to access and follow, with a stream of pages to work through at the bottom. On my first search the pages at the bottom did not work, but the arrows did so that was fine I could access all of the results, on other searches they did work.
In each search the same web sites are presented many times, once for each page or something like that rather than saying at the end similar pages have been left out click here to view the full list as we are more used to. Consequently I had to work through about five pages of results to access the one I was looking for at number 50 whereas with another well know search engine it was number 14 in the results. Whether the thoroughness is good or bad you must decide for yourself and how your quickly connection zips through the offerings.

I like the fact that the safe filter is on by default but it is so easy to switch off it is almost not worth considering. Where it says Safe Search is on with a tiny green button click on it and select off and it is changed. Anyone can do it in about half a second, there is no possibility to build in a password or anything like that to keep the safe filter on.

What I am less pleased by is the lack of an image search. I asked for pictures and images but did not get them, just standard searches on text.

There were several missing images on each page but I am sure this will be sorted soon - it is too many for them all to be missing, I am sure it is some other problem.
A nice feature once it is mended is the category search that sits on each page (see the second image). If one clicks on a category it seems to open suggested links. The first try worked but subsequent tries failed. It took me a few seconds to work out why there were no pages available but it was soon very obvious, each time I chose a link from the category it added more and more search terms until I ended up with : rollright stones Uffington White Horse Wayland's Smithy after four clicks, so, of course, it did not find any of the pages.

I am sure it will soon be fine, I have just read on the web that it is struggling to keep up with demand, so maybe that is some of the reason for missing images etc.. It is clearly one to watch!

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