A company couldn’t ask for much more mainstream coverage than Cuil received today. It was featured on local news broadcasts this morning and none other than Drudge himself linked to it above his headline. Here’s why it won’t matter.
You don’t beat Google just by being marginally better than Google. I tried the service and came away unimpressed by the results, yeah it was largely accurate but no more so that Google is. On many searches it didn’t return anything at all so despite their claim of indexing more content than Google they missed some of the time, and on a rather obvious terms, so my immediate concern is reliability.
Their strategy to promote privacy policies with regard to user data is smart but it won’t make the difference because you don’t hear a hue and cry about user data privacy on Google (or Yahoo or MSN) today. The average user just doesn’t care, and even though I argued in favor of this strategy about a year ago the reality is that it is not a competitive differentiator that rises the level of influencing search users.
Lastly, their presentation of search results may be more appealing than Google but that doesn’t translate into more effective. If anything, my seat of the pants feel is that they have degraded effectiveness through the use of the magazine page format simply because it forces the eye to unnaturally scan results. If they persist in believing this is better, what they should do to test that is run A/B comparisons against a traditional search results page and see what leads to both the fastest action time and lowest bounce rate.
The end result is Cuil, pronounced “cool.” Backed by $33 million in venture capital, the search engine plans to begin processing requests for the first time Monday.