Cuil isn’t so cool anymore

So for those that aren’t familiar Cuil (pronounced Cool) is a start up search engine founded by some former google employees. With a pocket full of venture capital funds they set out to compete with the big G.  My initial response to this was, “Great, finally some really competition to google”.  Sadly the opposite has been true since Cuil has hit the map.  July 2008 I gave Cuil an honest rundown and was simplynot impressed with the results.  Most notably is Cuil’s attempt to provide images next to search results.  What I found amazing about this is they simply would show images that not only didn’t reside on the site the link pointed to, they didn’t have anything to do with the result at all.   This fact alone is a mammoth failure.  Even today (nearly 6 months later) nearly every page has an image that really shouldn’t be there. 

Getting past the borked image feature I took note of what results the engine actually returned.  Some keywords return relevant results, but it appears the fundamental way Cuil works is inferior to the likes of Google and Yahoo.  For instance, a simple search on Widgets google typically leads to a diversified listing of sites all focused around the Widgets you search for.  However, Cuil seems to feed multiple deep links to the same website, much more so than Google.  Cuil also returns the same results on multiple pages.  This appears to be widespread with all of my searches.

There is also the issue of hacked, faked, and general clutter sites listed on Cuil. showing up in the first page results for widget search makes me sick.  Mal ware spread would be unstoppable if google didn’t keep up with these listings.  With the all to often issues such as MS08-078 it is even more important to keep these scum sites from being found.

Cuil could have been a real contender to Google, who knows they still may be down the road.  My advice to Cuil, ditch the image feature because it doesn’t work and do like MS and Yahoo (copy off of Google).  Filter results down to be more unique, less of the same sites.

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Google Trends a useful tool

Quick post today about google trends. For those of you that don’t know google offers a really useful tool that allows you to see search trend data from all the way back to 2004 (or earlier?). This really has a broad range of useful applications. For example, take the current economic situation. How does it compare to years past? Just an exaggeration? Lets do a search for ‘jobs’:
So based on searches, jobs are in fact a little higher in demand this year. However it is interesting to note the drastic increase in news coverage. Another very useful and obvious observation is the seasonal nature of job searches.

Another interesting search is ‘hho’. HHO is a term coined by the alternative energy community for basically splitting water into hydrogen through electrolysis and piping the dihydrogen oxgen directly into the engine. So at the peak of the gas price madness this summer, this movement to equip hho systems to cars was really gaining ground. I have to admit I have been intrigued by this idea. It appears to produce real gains in mileage and well documented on videos all over the net. The merits of HHO are for another post however. Interestingly gas prices started to inch back down in late summer. Coincidentally so did the interest in hho. What does this say to the alternative engery movement in general if gas prices remain low? As prices rise again in summer will HHO interest rise again?

Finally, I will lead into my upcoming post with the term ‘Web 2.0’. The media coined name for the next logical evolution of what the internet is and does. The term means a lot from design aspects to social networking. So as you can see the Web 2.0 searches peaked out in Q1 of 2007 and is in a steady decline. What does this mean for web 2.0. While I honestly don’t believe we are witnessing the demise of web 2.0. I think what are seeing is the movement to the next evolution of the web. Web 2.0 is here to stay I believe and the internet is permanently changed for the better because of it. What is next you ask? I honestly don’t know. I think in 2009 it will show itself.

Web 2.0