I like Cuil. There’s just something very intuitive about the interface that fels comfortable to me, but I’m not sure how to articulate it. And it’s fast! Going to try it out as my default search engine for the next few days. Downside? Sometimes the images seem completely random, and I do see some spam in the index.

110 thoughts on “Cuil

  1. I know it’s growing pains for them, but it’s only fast when it actually displays results. The column format is hard to browse through. I do like some of the drilldown features, though, but they’ve got a LONG way to go before I’d consider skipping Google for Cuil,

  2. No results because of high load…

    Due to excessive load, our servers didn’t return results. Please try your search again.

    I don’t know about you, but this is a big no no to me. Maybe your link gave the effect to the site, but this is a big turn off. Hopefully it’s just a temporary thing, because this is what killed Friendster.

    I did get one search in and the results aren’t what I was expecting, but still interesting.

  3. Looks fancy yes, but it’s seems pretty much useless to me.
    Whenever i try to search for something most of the results are other search sites and directories.
    I dont think google are feeling very threatened by it.

  4. I have no idea why they’re using a multi-column format to display the results when they could use the right zone for ads (and financing).

    Then again, that would make them look like all the other ; )

  5. Wow, I reading and trying cuil and your blog pops up. I run wordpress in cuil and your full name pops up in result #1. Lots of reaction in blogs today and I agree that it’s intuitive interface (lifetime of reading newspapers) and easy to digest. Here are my thoughts for what they are worth. Privacy is good. Google forgot that. I do business overseas with people in “interesting countries” and my phones are routinely tapped by multiple agencies. I’m sure I’m on a list that Google responds to as well. If you believe in the Bill of Rights you should like Cuil.

    As for the criticisms of the Google people and their minions in the technology “press” bashing Cuil, I say stuff it… I search information on the web for a living, spending 6 hours a day in search activities and engines and have developed databases. There is plenty of room for Cuil. Okay so it’s overwhelmed on Day 1- guess that means a lot of people are looking for alts to Google. Do any of the ADHD users out in cyberspace remember what Google’s opening day was like? They were overwhelmed, just like Cuil and did not spring forth as a little homunculus of applications.

    Search is my bread and butter and Cuil, Alta Vista, Zaba, Ask, Vivisimo (Clusty), Google and others all have a place in the information stew. So I say to the critics- Cuil it and allow them to roll out and grow. Remember Windows 3.1? It got better. They are gonna get better, have a great brain trust and a point of view other than posting popularity for ad revenue. Cuil is kewul. Thanks for listening to my rant. I like your site and like what I’m learning about Worpress and will be bringing it to an org I work with,

  6. I really am not liking it…the style is slick and all, but it isn’t doing anything for me.

    Searching my name gives a bunch of crap links and then one link kind of pertaining to me—an old website/blog of mine that has long been closed. It has a picture of someone next to the link….is this what you mean by “Sometimes the images seem completely random”? I can see that is true….

  7. I agree with arran, it looks good but that’s about it. What good is a search engine that generates inaccurte search results? Kind of emarassing if you ask me.

  8. I can’t say that I am a fan, BUT … if the stock were public … I might think about making a purchase or two. I mean … it just launched … so it is probably not going to be perfect.

    I was not impressed with it’s search results … the Cuil mostly told me that the servers were overloaded … not good for first impressions. Then again, I was not sold on google the first time I used it.

    I tried searching my site … and it came up with nothing except when I entered my domain … that was my initial test. But, it came up with a lot of irrelevant hits on other searches as well.

    Not a fan of the column layout … hard to navigate, but it might just be my initial reaction … maybe one has to acquire the taste … and then never be able to go back to the scroll down. Then again … regardless of the format … if the search engine is not producing the desired results … aesthetics have not much to do with it.

    Be interesting to see how the cuil do.

  9. It’s terrible so far, I’m not sure how you can say that you like it (other than the look). I don’t come up first for my own name (a rare name) — a name for which I have sitelinks on Google. The first result for “online poker” (one of the most valuable keywords) is a Polish spam site. Not to mention the performance problems they’ve been having on and off.

    I’ll check it out again in a few months, but I’m not really all that hopeful.

  10. I think they should have started on a low note…
    As they say first impression is last impression, those who found it down with load will surely go away from it.
    And about column formats I really hated it. While coding I tend to use search so often that browsing columnwise result is hard and time consuming.

  11. I’ve tried Cuil, and it doesn’t strike me as being ready for realise.

    Doing a standard search on private-intellectual it came up with 261 results encompassing only three sites – two of which were spam / skimmer sites and the final one literally two hundred entries for exactly the same very, very old weblog entry on a weblog that has long been closed down. It didn’t find any references to my present site (nearly 900 posts) nor did it find anything on intellectual property or cross-references from other sites linking to or mentioning private-intellectual from the claimed 120 billion pages crawled.

    Sorry, but this one has got a long, long way to go yet.

  12. Well, this is definitively not for a fast overview search as it is much more difficult to scan the results.
    And if they state that they search three times more pages than Google does I naturally expect them to find me some more sites than google does:
    ‘wordpress’ on Google: around 232,000,000 results
    ‘wordpress’ on Cuil: 39,385,578 results

    If Cuil is promising me something and doesn’t deliver on it there’s no reason for a switch 🙂

  13. I agree that it looks pretty slick, but as a search engine I don’t really rate it.

    Cuil returned a lot of completely irrelevant content on a few test searches I did – which is a bit of a let down considering that “Cuil searches for and ranks pages based on their content and relevance”.

    I think Cuil has a LONG way to go before it begins to make Google nervous, and it really should stop blowing its own horn until it tightens up its performance as a search engine!

  14. Well, I have played around with the search engine quite a bit in the last 24 hours. I can tell it will be good in the future, but right now it just lacks something. I conducted a lot of searches and most times I would get a response like…355 results, but there would only be one thing shown and it was not what I wanted. And, I could not access the other 354 results to see if one of them was what I wanted to look at. That was truly annoying. When I conducted the same search on Google, it came up with much more that I could choose from. Dunno, perhaps soon the little bugs will be worked out. Till then, imma stick with Google but keep checking back.

  15. I did 3 searches. The results of the first one were irrelevant, the two others not too bad, not too good either. I stay with Google.

  16. I like it. The results aren’t good (and the site submission email system really does need changing), but it’s nice to see people rethinking the way search results can be displayed.

    Once they’ve cracked the results problems (too many sites and terms not appearing) it should be one to watch. In the meantime I’ll stick with Google and occasionally drop by Cuil to check up on progress.

  17. No way I’m switching at this point. Spam, poor relevance, outages, and a horrible interface (skimming down a list is easier than seeing 10 or so squares).

    Also, I wonder how they’ll intrduce ads. Google clearly differentiates their Sponsored Results from the real thing. In Cuil’s layout, it’s just too tempting to just change the color, or something like it.

  18. well, doesn’t look that bad to me, but they have bold claims on their about page, which I think they will need to prove 😉

    Welcome to Cuil—the world’s biggest search engine. The Internet has grown. We think it’s time search did too.


    We’ve created the world’s biggest index, and we’ve also developed useful features to help you search.

    I guess time will tell…

  19. Cuil sounds good, but they like my photos and they do’nt like my German languages 😉

    My photos near to english results -this is surely good for Cuil but not for me 🙁


  20. C’mon be serious. This is not an attempt to compete with Google. It’s an attempt to be bought by Microsoft! Which would you rather do? Work for Google or be bought by Microsoft? It’s a no brainer.

    Surely it began after a few drinks and someone saying “wouldn’t it be cuil….”*

    *it’s how Irish people pronounce “cool” esp. when having a bit of “craic”

    It will get better surely.

  21. Personally for me Google is much better, I have found that Cuil is good for obscure searches, but not so good when you are searching generic stuff…

    Cuil is not a Google-Killer, its not a threat to anyone, Yahoo, Live Search, Ask or even AltaVista & Snap

  22. I think the results focus on displaying Wikipedia’s entries more than official websites, for example:

    I typed in ‘Matt’, and your name wasn’t on the first page.
    I type in ‘Matt Mullenweg’ and the top listing is the Wikipedia article about you, followed by LinkedIn profiles etc. Your blog isn’t on the first 3 pages at least.

    Compare this to Google, and you’re 1st for both “Matt” and “Matt Mullenweg”

    They need to work a bit more on their search algorithms before they can rival Google.

  23. Bleh! I did a search on a handful of different artists, including myself. The image results are extremely poor and not related at all. The links are repetitive, and lots of good, pertinent information is not appearing. In all cases, the web sites of the living artists either didn’t come up in results, or came up many pages down, while Google or Dogpile puts those sites first or second.

  24. I’d love an alternative to Google, but there’s much that Cuil is doing wrong. I should hope that these are just start-up hiccups. It’s too bad, because they have such a bold claim (indexing so many more pages than Google) and they’re walking around red-faced today.

    FYI, turn off their filters. I couldn’t get any search results whatsoever until I did.

  25. 0 (zero, null, ?) results for “learn chinese”.

    My China blog / learn Chinese site seems not be included at all. Some of the claims they make about their indexing is just not true at this moment.

  26. Great interface, lousy results. If the page actually flowed based on my window size, it’d be better than great. Hopefully they learn to actually return results from their supersized index. 🙂

  27. Another concern I just noticed – the random ‘related’ images they seem to assign with search results just assigned me the logo to a different website. I doubt that would make business very happy.

  28. I got that “excessive load” page too. And I clicked on “About Cuil” link once and got a 404 error. Seriously! I think I will wait a few months before trying out this search engine.

  29. I’m 84 and change resistant…but I want to give cuil a fair chance. I will keep on trying it in order to become familiar with a format that is different from Google…I think I will end up using both in the future.

  30. I think they have a long way to go. Most of my searches (and I gave it full 10 minutes of my time) returned crappy results.

    I don’t think I am going back too soon. And it’s slow.

    I like the UI though.

  31. Like many new things I am willing to look at it and give it a try. There was a time when Alta Vista was da bomb and then this little upstart called Google came along and challenged that authority. If you want to know how that worked out, I haven’t even looked to see if alta vista still exists in seven or eight years…

  32. I must say that as a web designer and online merchant I was anxious to see how my sites would do in the this new and “improved” search engine.

    Wow! I’m impressed, my company is all over Cuil – by way of illegally copied pictures describing and promoting my competition! My site however is buried in the rankings – apparently whose only relevance is to be pilfered much like an unlocked car with the keys in the ignition. And in case I missed something that’s still stealing right? The guy who gets into that unlocked car and turns the key is still going to jail when the cops catch hime, right?

    So other than than stealing from me, Cuil has also yet to return a correct result when searching for a specific website name, company name or person.

    AND, they don’t even find themselves relevant in a search for the name of their company – I guess since have no graphics other than a black screen they had no need to list themselves since there is nothing to steal.

  33. Its got a ways to go before it compares to ANY functioning search engine.

    When I entered one of my own domains, CUIL returned over 6,000 pages – most spam – with my domain name in it, but I couldn’t find the actual site itself listed.

  34. I would like to know why several of our competitors appear with images from our website next to their links.

    For one of our keywords we appear in the top center but with no image other than an orange square (?). However, several of our competitors have our images next to their links.

    For another of our main keywords, for which we rank #1 on Google, I found the same company listed 7 times and found images from our site shown 7 times too…but not with our result.

    It all seems a bit shady to me. They say they pull images from the site they feel are representative…but shouldn’t they at least be from the site being listed?

  35. not a fan, as yet. i like the old school way of linear display of results. its a one ot the huge factor in helping me determine the site to pick from the list.

  36. The clustering bit is cool but very formal. The obvious solution is user clustering. I log in, click on clustering, enter a term, get default clusters (and / or user clusters marked cloneable), refine them and save these as private or public. When someone else searches for that term, these show up in the sidebar. The prominence these get can be based on past clicks or randomization. For more power, the searcher can log in too, then the cluster order also depends on correlation between searchers and how they rated the clusters.

  37. I looked up for Free Icons Download and they came up with this:
    “We didn’t find any results for “Free Icons Download”

    Some reasons might be…

    * a typo. Please check your spelling.
    * your search includes a term that is very rare. Try to find a more common substitute.
    * too many search terms. Please try fewer terms.

    Finally, try to think of different words to describe your search.”
    If you can’t find anything for free icons download you sure need to improve A LOT.

  38. Um. Try searching for “cuil”… nothing. Ok… “Cuil search”… hmm still nothing about the site. “Cuil search engine” 3 total results, none of them about the website.

    Now google Cuil.


  39. the images shown are many times NOT from that website. Sometimes they are from a compeditors site.

  40. Yes, splogs that have sucked up my content come up before any of my actual content and when I finally found a result that was for my blog it was the contact page. I guess an argument could be made that that page has higher relevance than the actual content but ….

    Has a very long way to go in my opinion. And perhaps the reason it has so many more [claimed] pages indexed is because they are indexing spam/splogs.

  41. My first three searches ended up with nothing…not impressed. Google doesn’t need to worry at this point….

  42. Just tried it & it has a long way to go. Ssems to copncentrate on the USA. Didn’t find the Times Newspaper , ( oldest in the UK)or if it did it was buried. Stick with it -Google becoming the 2bd Micosoft

  43. After the load died down and I could actually perform some searches…I have to say I wasn’t very impressed.

    Cuil’s results just didn’t seem very good…but then again, maybe I’m just used to what Google telling me what is relevant =)

    I personally feel like the interface is a little too much…but again that may be due to the Google factor.

  44. Cuil is definitely going for it, but it’s hard to imagine them doing anything but incremental changes to what Google’s done. And even that would take years of effort. has taken a different tack. We have a full web index, but we change the results based on the surfing activity of our user base (now over 2,000,000). It’s in alpha, but I’d be curious to hear your thoughts.

  45. I tried Cuil yesterday and found it to be very unintuitive. Because of the three columns you just can’t scan it very easily so I find myself spending too much time only to find nothing all that great.

  46. I just wanted to add that when searching for one of my sites it only came up with three random pages. I don’t know how they can claim to have the most amount of pages when my site which has thousands of pages on google only has three on Cuil. Sounds to me like they’ve just got a bunch of splogs making up the majority of their index.

  47. “the images shown are many times NOT from that website. Sometimes they are from a compeditors site.”

    Sorry for the multiple comments but I’ve been going through the other comments and wanted to reply. Anyway, as for the comment above I found the same thing. When searching for my site it came up with my videos page but the icon next to it was not from my site. How they could have screwed that up is beyond me.

    Long way, long long way to go.

  48. It look really great i like how it looks, but i also like my porn sites something cuil cant find(even with safe search turned off) It cant find some blogs i like it cant find a direct link to my bebo page!

    Google for now. Unless they drastically improve the search results.

    Then i type “bebo” i want bebo. Not myspace and facebook and all the other sites like it……… just bebo!

  49. I found it quite useless. Random images that aren’t even on my site show up. It indexes and serves up, sub-pages that shouldn’t come up as high as they do. Lousy.

  50. Dislike the random, unrelated images. There was a sports team logo next to one of my sites, and an awful illustration of a poodle next to another.

  51. As I mentioned in my post Cuil has a long way to go compete with Google. I will give it that it’s fast but it goes against the grain when displaying search results to users who have been using search engines for years. How does Cuil intend to create revenue/profits? And why does it look like a knockoff Azureus Vuze?

  52. I can’t stand cuil.

    The layout is ridiculous, your eyes need to move to much. The search brings up useless, non relevant results.

    For the capital that they had, the results should have been better.

  53. Sure does like press release sites. for the two things I searched for they represented 80% of the results. I doubt google will be too worried.

  54. I tried searching for some assorted lesser-known websites I go to, and Cuil had none of them. I like the large columns, but they’re only really useful if what you search for is always going to be in the top results. For supposedly having 120 billion pages indexed, you would think they would have a lot more of the web than they do.

    For now, I’m going to stick with Google.

  55. What struck me as a little weird was when I searched for myself (The Writer Bee), it came up with a whole bunch of thumbnail pictures that I’ve never seen before and certainly aren’t part of my site! Would be nice if they could clean that bit up.

  56. ‘google’ was my first try on this search engine with no results. When searching for ‘cuil’ on google I got several results. Perhaps this will be ready for prime time some time in the future.

  57. When I search for my own web site by name, the first return is for someone else. I’m a photographer, and it seems just totally bizarre to me that the images that they associate with all the returns that DO come in for my site are not the images on the page they link to, are not even my photos, and are completely unrelated – yet this is not apparent to anyone visiting their search site.

    I’m extremely unimpressed. This is not even up to the standards for a brand new service.

  58. Cuil is good, it is always good to have an alternative, but lets give it the necessary time to grow and i believe it has a good growth-margin. Sometimes it is just messy.

  59. I really liked the interface… slighty disapointed that some of my sites weren’t in the index either, out of 121,617,892,992 pages they couldnt find me! how rude 🙂

  60. In my country Indonesia, cuil means to take something very very small just to taste the flavor, usually it’s for tasting the food before presented in dining table, I thought it’s a SE owned by Indonesian people. I just try it, searched for my blog but the result was disappointing, it has not indexed my blog

  61. Cuil is kind of hokey. I search for my internet marketing company, AndPlus Design, and it somehow associates me with generic viagra.

    I agree with a lot of comments here – has a long way to go.

  62. Cuil are scraping images from our sites and placing them against images of other non connected site. Hardly a search engine more a stealer of copyright images

  63. I just tried using Cuil and I have a headache from the interface. I use Google frequently and rapidly, reading through a page of results in about 10 seconds. With Cuil, my eyes no longer go from top to bottom, but across the screen in different ways. I find this completely jarring, my eyes are hurting from one search. Black background contributes to this no doubt. I think you could prove scientifically that this is an inferior search engine just on that basis. Sorry, but I won’t be switching any time soon.

  64. I typed in the name of my blog (not at all a common name) and I got pages and pages of people who link to my blog, but not my actual blog itself.

    Clearly, this Cuil thing needs work.

  65. The same for me; no direct results for my site, just a bunch of inconsequential incoming links from other sites. I did send an email to to request that they crawl my site – we will see how long that takes and what results from that.

  66. I think Cuil has the potential but may be masked by the strong PR behind it. Lets see how it copes with SEO’er start optmitimsing sites for Cuil

  67. NEEDS WORK. I queried key words for my site. Came up 1st page but after that I had my site listed but with links to God knows where. Also none of the pictures were from my site. Yep needs wok.

  68. Funny how I’ve tried to bring up the Cuil site four or five random times a day since the launch, from different browsers and computers, and have always gotten a “server too busy” response. You can say that’s just an indication of the press popularity, I say it’s inexcusably poor server-farm support.

  69. I have used Cuil for a day and wasted my time doing search again on Google. Though I did not like Cuil currently, but it does seem an exciting new search engine.
    The way things are organized is unique and would need to be get use too. Let’s see how it grows and what it becomes.