Cuil: Interesting, but not so cool for research

Cuil, a new search engine started by some ex-Googlers and $33million in funding, has launched with an index of 120 billion pages indexed.

On top of an index that some is suggesting is bigger than Google, Cuil seeks to differentiate itself through data grouping. For example this search for Berlin offers immediate results, then what it thinks are related results via tabs, such as Irving Berlin, Berlin Wall and more. Some search results also offer a right hand box category option that groups the search term, for example in a vanity search for myself, it offers categories of Australian Bloggers…then oddly TechTV, American Bloggers, Gawker Media and G4 Hosts and Staff.

First impressions is that the interface, that includes extracts from each link, is user friendly. The tabs/ groups aren’t perfect, but they are a reasonable way to navigate when they work.

The problem is that the search results don’t always compute. A search for The Inquisitr doesn’t show this site on its first page, second page, or third page, and then just runs out of pages. However, there are multiple references of The Inquisitr on Techmeme (7), FriendFeed (3) and The Blog Herald (3) in the result. There appears to be no smart grouping like you see on Google, so that where there are multiple results on the one site, you get a primary and secondary link only, in one result. Instead each result gets its own, complete with text extract spot. This is only one example, but I’d hate to be using Cuil for serious research only to get the same reference listed multiple times on the same sites over and over again: as a search tool it is most definitely not cool.

It appears I’m not the only one seeing issues with Cuil. Chris Brogan can’t find himself in Cuil, despite an established presence online. At the time of writing, Cuil seems to be teetering on fail as traffic hits the site, either that or it can’t find Louis Gray.