Cuil: The New Search Engine on the Block
There's a new contender against mighty Google out on the web, and this time it's from within their own ranks. Cuil (pronounced like "cool") is a new search engine (this being written in July, 2008) that claims to already have an index of about 120 billion web pages1. The company was founded by former Google employees Anna Patterson, Russell Power, and Lewis Monier.
Will the experience of former employeeship at Google give this new company the edge to nab a healthy market share in the ultracompetitive world of search engines? Of course even if they had it in their heads, they would be prevented from using intellectual property that legally belongs to Google, even inventions that they themselves came up with while there (while patents are licensed to individuals, assigning invention rights to employers is virtually universal in the US and most countries throughout the world). But Anna Patterson (who developed a highly successful search engine before that Google subsequently bought and used to improve its own) says she's got a new design, the details of which, of couse, she did not divulge to the press.
The land of search engines is littered with former contenders who started strong and at length languished. One still in recent memory is Ask.com, once known as AskJeeves.com. Ask launched an aggressive marketing campaign with commercials touting "It's the Algorithm." Now the company is shifting its focus from competing as an internet wide search engine to the more focused domain of married women trying to manage their lives2.
This is just one example of how the cookie can crumble. Will Cuil be a rising star or a flash in the pan? Interested techies will be watching.