Cuil – The World’s Biggest Waste of Time

Not So Cuil

Cuil launched today with a plucky Drudge headline: CUIL TAKES ON GOOGLE “Cool,” thought I and gave it a go.

It is nothing short of terrible.

First off, the site has been ridiculously slow all morning which is terrible way to convery the whole “we’re-taking-on-Google” message. And please don’t use the “but we were featured on Drudge this morning” excuse—if you’re trying to oust the reigning search champion, you use some of the $30 million in venture capital to keep your site up, especially the day of the launch.

When their info page finally loaded, it was completely unstyled. At first, I thought they were going for the Google “anti-design” look; then I brought it up on my desktop machine and realized it was, in fact, styled. At least until I tried to get back there to grab some description text for this article and got a “Page Not Found” error. Perhaps it’s safer to link to the Wikipedia article

Setting aside the issue of its cluttered layout and the fact that you have to teach people how to say the name, the results have been lousy as well, specifically the images it tries to “put in context”. If you search Google for “plasticmind”, I own the front page. A Cuil search for “plasticmind” turns up Gremlins, Brain Eaters, neon backpacks and a chubby white guy—not a single image that’s relevant. (Screenshot) What’s worse is that almost all of the results are either outdated or linked to non-existent pages: two duplicate results for my podcast directory which I moved last year; a link to my front page with last year’s header (I stopped using camel case on Plasticmind last year) and text from a news article I took down in 2006; a link to my audio directory which never actually got launched. In fact, the only text on the page that is up-to-date and relevant is the first listing, for my blog.

Doesn’t look like they’ll be “upsetting” Google anytime soon…