Cruel to Cuil

December 30, 2008

TechCruch pushed the boulder off the hill, and now the avalanche is crashing down on Cuil. I wrote about this service when it first rolled out. You can read that article here. You can find CNet’s take on the failure of Cuil here. Matt Asay’s “Breaking the Google Habit” summarizes the Web search traffic chasm between the GOOG and every other Web search service. Keep in mind that the Google is not doing as well in China, India, Russia, and a couple of other places. But for most of the US of A, search means Google. (When I make this statement in my public lectures, I get entitlement children and trophy crazed 20 somethings chewing on my ankle. Folks, I am just reporting data, not imagining them. What do you call a 65 to 70 percent market share in Web search and nearly 26,000 Google Search Appliances and nearly complete saturation of US government mapping activities with Google Maps?) Mr. Asay picks up the theme of search as a habit. I have mentioned this characteristic of online once or twice in the last 30 years, but it’s a novel idea for CNet. The point is that Cuil started strong and ended up sucking air behind such stars as and For me, the most important comment in Mr. Asay’s write up was:

..for competitors looking to kick the Google search habit, you can’t take the Cuil route and compete on search. It just won’t matter if you’re better. You need to create a different, compelling habit.

Wait a minute. I need to get out my acid free paper and archival ink. I want to write that down. I bet the Cuil venture fund check writers would prefer to capture their thoughts with branding irons on Cuil flesh.

Stephen Arnold, December 30, 2008


5 Responses to “Cruel to Cuil”

  1. Martin Griffies on December 30th, 2008 2:03 pm

    Having seen the manner in which users have switched to Google, I cannot believe that a search site with a superior interface and better results would not displace it.

    However, Cuil does not have either. The results of the test searches I made are fewer, and the interface is less flexible and aesthetically poorer. That’s the problem in a nutshell.

    I remain disappointed that Clusty become more populat, as that has clear advantages over Google by providing categorised search results.

  2. Seth Grimes on December 30th, 2008 5:23 pm

    Not incidentally, Cuil is NOT better (than Google). It’s not a question of the responsiveness issues that were widely experienced and reported when they launched. It is that Cuil results were third-rate.

    Yes, do compete on “a different, compelling habit” (as well as as-good or better results). To me, that means something akin to Silobreaker, which both categorizes a la Clusty and ALSO provides a beyond-hit-list interface with a mix of presentations and exploratory capabilities that I find far more compelling than Clusty’s.

  3. Martin Griffies on December 31st, 2008 6:29 am

    Sorry – I should have written that I’m disappointed that Clusty has NOT become more popular. It has a clear interface and delivers good results which can be mined easily.

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