Sunday, August 03, 2008

World’s fastest search engine ‘Cuil’ launched

Pitched as the world’s latest, largest and swiftest search engine, Cuil was launched Monday with 120 billion pages or ‘thrice’ the volume of the Google index. Described as a ’super-stealth search project’, it has been founded and developed by the highly respected husband-wife duo of Stanford professor Tom Costello and former Google search architect Anna Patterson.

Originally Cuill, pronounced as ‘cool,’ Irish for knowledge, has now been named ‘Cuil’. A report on the web quoting the founders claimed that it is “bigger, faster and better than Google’s flagship search engine in pretty much every way”.

The Internet has grown by leaps and bounds over the past 15 years, speedily outpacing search engines. But Cuil is expected to search more web pages than Google - its nearest competitor - and 10 times as many as the search engine of Microsoft.

Where Cuil scores over rivals is the way it indexes the web and handle queries by users. Both are costly operations, but Cuil claims to have found a way to slash those costs.

A search for dogs, for example, will return category results for “water dogs,” “crossbreed”, “cocker spaniel” and so on. Some of these related terms do not include the term “dog”.

Similarly by clicking on New York, one would get tabbed results for recommended refinements like New York Times, New York City, New York Yankees and so on.

A search for “Harry” would throw up different tabs for “Harry Potter” and “Prince Harry of Wales”. Further, the Harry Potter tab will provide more sub-links devoted to actors, Gryffindor dorm-mates and others associated with the series.

That would permit Cuil’s founders to operate the search engine much more cheaply, even at Google-scale should it ever reach that point. Google incurs an expenditure of a billion dollars every year on running the infrastructure of its search business.

Cuil also works to understand how words are related. Say France - cheese - wine, to get more relevant results. This is a semantic search approach very different from Powerset’s natural language approach.

Powerset uses artificial intelligence to try to grasp what sentences on a website actually mean. Cuil, by comparison, simply tries to categorise and file a web page, even if the category name doesn’t appear on the site.

However, Rafe Needleman, writing on the Cuil homepage, cautioned that “it’s one thing to have a nice interface and show users good results, but the size of the web index that the engine has access to matters a lot as well”.

“Compared with Google’s globe-spanning network of data centres, some literally set up near dams so they can tap hydro power more efficiently, Cuil’s two puny data centres hosting less than 2,000 PCs total will have to run pretty fast to outpace Google’s crawlers.

“As a business proposition, Cuil is obviously a big bet … No other search engine has come close to entering the public consciousness like this. Of course, Cuil doesn’t have to trounce Google on day one. It took Google quite some time to surpass Alta Vista and Yahoo in the search wars.”


New Search Engine to beat Google

A startup founded by engineers from Google Inc. and other tech giants is launching a search engine that claims to cover three times as many Web pages as Google. Cuil Inc. plans to launch today and is optimistic to deliver better results than other major search engines like Google and Yahoo. Cuil will have better abilities by having an interface that helps clients search across more Web pages and study them more accurately.

The site’s results page resembles an online magazine — a different look and feel from search juggernaut Google’s. “You can’t be an alternative search engine and smaller,” said Anna Patterson, Cuil co-founder and president, and one of the engineers.

Cuil search Engine was developed and being run by the husband-and-wife team of Stanford professor Tom Costello and former Google search architect Anna Patterson, it’s pitched as bigger, faster, and better than Google flagship search engine in pretty much every way. The difference between Cuil and Google is its ranking system. Cuil does not assign priority to pages based on inbound links as Google does. Cuil analyzes the content of Web pages to divine their relevance to a search query. Cuil results are automatically categorized.

When you search for a common name, Cuil will give you a result page where results for different individuals with that name are groups under tabs. It will also break out sub-topics related to each name. In comparison to Google’s globe-spanning data network of data centers, Cuil’s two puny data centers hosting less than 2,000 PCs total run fast to outpace Google’s crawlers.

The search engine will make its maiden debut today and certainly with its great publicity so far, will rink in the online media and pages as a force to reckon with. However, even before it goes all the way, Cuil is getting the worst consumer dissonance ever. Online surfers have said it’s even worse than Alta Vista and that it’s a pathetic search Engine. But we have to wait and see what these ex-Google guys are offering.

by David M N James