Cuil, a new search engine built by a team of ex-Google employees, launched earlier yesterday. Ever since, I’ve been hammered by the news of the launch everywhere – RSS Feeds, New York times, Techmeme. Even before I got a chance to try it out, folks were already talking about its 120 billion index of web pages and how Cuil could be a major threat to Google.
As the day passed, folks got sufficient time to try out the search engine and the reviews have been mixed. I tried out the service myself and couldnt agree more. While Cuil does offer some neat features, its nowhere near to usurping Google’s reign anytime soon. The search results seemed mediocre at best.
So, why and how exactly did Cuil end up getting so much hype in spite of having such an okay product ?
I attribute it to three reasons:
1) The core team behind Cuil are ex-Google employees and well respected search experts. That gives them tremendous credibility right from the get go. Building infrastructure and the ability to index 120 billion pages in such a short time is no mean feat by any regards
2) Great stealth and PR tactics by Cuil and the gullibility of the A-list bloggers who took the bait
3) The third and the single biggest reason is that people seriously want to see a potent Google competitor. Part of the gullibility I mention above might arise from the fact that people feel threatened by Google’s dominance over the search market. Even the faintest flicker of hope for a credible Google competitor sounds really exciting. Google has become too big and dominant in today’s market. No longer is it the underdog. That explains why news about Cuil (for that matter Powerset too) got folks really excited and hopeful.
Its still too early to pass any extended judgement on Cuil yet. Its just a day old and Google has had about 10 years of headstart. I’m pretty sure the folks behind Cuil will be able to build up on all this hype, tweak and improve their product and hopefully give us a kick ass Google competitor — at least I hope they will.
What’s your take ?