Software

Cuil's just the latest in a long line of search engines

Google's the king of search now, but it wasn't always and with Cuil it might not always be. Here's a look back at some of the early Kings Of Search.

Google's the king of search now, but it wasn't always, and with Cuil it might not always be. Here's a look back at some of the early kings of searches.

-----------------------------------------------------

Google has been the 800-lb gorilla when it comes to search engines for several years now. As the biggest search engine company, Google can practically replace the O's in its name with giant targets as other companies try to get in on the act. Microsoft has redoubled its efforts with Live.com and the recent flirtations with Yahoo, but to no avail so far. Yahoo started off being mostly a search engine but has grown to so much more and is only now thinking about search again. Baidu is a recent competitor, but so far has been focused mainly in China.

Most new competitors try to nibble around Google's edges. Spock, for example, tries to focus on searching for people, especially on social networking sites. Cuil is the new kid on the block, which is daring to take Google head-on with what it calls the world's largest index and a new approach to grouping search results.

How's it look? Well, I'm not impressed so far. Neither is Larry Dignan from TechRepublic's sister site, ZDNet. The results are iffy. You can often get different results each time you type and search for the same term. The site seems to go down a lot. Chalk it up to growing pains and launch problems. Over time, it may get better, but ya' know what they say about first impressions.

Becoming the king of search

There's nothing to say that Cuil can't knock the crown off of Google, just probably not in its current incarnation. That said, however, Google wasn't always the king either. Other search engines held the title long before Google came on the scene. Some of the most popular search engines at the turn of the century included:

My favorite one in the late 90s was probably AltaVista. It's still around but is more useful for its Babelfish service now rather than as a search engine. (You'll notice that Babelfish now comes up as a Yahoo service -- Yahoo bought AltaVista several years ago with its purchase of Overture.)

There has been a lot of consolidation in the search industry. Most of the old-line companies have been bought and sold so many times it's hard to tell who owns whom anymore. And where companies are independent, they use one of the majors to power their search. The notable exception are the metasearch engines like Dogpile and CBS Interactive's own Search.com, which rely on results from multiple sources to begin with.

You can take a look back at the early versions of different search engines by checking out the Old Search Engine Photo Gallery.

9 comments
getsanjayrao
getsanjayrao

its not so good..........yet to make it better we cannot retrieve many of the search patterns

jhilgeman2
jhilgeman2

The reason each search engine "king" was able to succeed the previous king is because the new king was able to adjust to the way people searched. Google was able to get this far because it was simple and fast, and that's ALL people wanted. Cuil isn't bringing anything new to the table. They're trying to beat Google by doing exactly what Google is doing, but with a 2 or 3 column layout. That's not enough. Unless they can figure out a better way to serve up search results than how Google currently does it, they're going to ultimately fail.

leo.senus
leo.senus

At least Google returns it's own website as the first result when searching "Google" Cuil doesn't even return it's own site on the first several pages. I guess it's not included in the 121,617,892,992 web pages that it says it searches.

GSG
GSG

I tried it yesterday, and I liked it. With Google, whatever I search for is usually 4-5 lines down underneath a whole bunch of ads. I didn't find that to be a problem with cuil. Of course, my searches were very specific when I played with it, so that could change. As far as sight problems and it going down, I chalk that up to it launching, and all of the press causing people to hammer the sight. I'd say that they got a lot more hits than they anticipated. It's worth it to at least try.

CaptBilly1Eye
CaptBilly1Eye

It will be interesting to see if Cuil lasts. Seeing how it's creators are ex-Google engineers, you'd think they'd have a little head start. But it seems that their experience hasn't helped so far: http://news.cnet.com/8301-17939_109-10000670-2.html I wish 'em luck. I think they'll need it. Heck. I was a die hard Excite and then Yahoo fan for many years before ultimately using Google as my primary search tool. I just don't see many people making a switch from what they've become comfortable with. Maybe a catchier name woulda helped.

proph3t777
proph3t777

I totally agree with the naming concern from CaptBilly1Eye. "Cuil" doesn't exactly roll off the tongue or out of my brain smoothly. *Typed as I looked around the page to see how I spell Cuil* Does anyone remember the GUI style search engine? I cant recall the name (another failed naming exercise obviously). Results would appear as a cloud of circles, varying in distance from each other, somehow based on their relevance etc. I liked the geekiness of it.

John Sheesley - TechRepublic Pro
John Sheesley - TechRepublic Pro

There's a new kid on the block in the world of search - Cuil. They've got a long way to go to knock Google off the hill. But the same could have been said about Google 12 years ago. As I point out in Classics Rock, Google wasn't always the king: http://blogs.techrepublic.com.com/classic-tech/?p=156 Others like AltaVista and Yahoo ruled the roost. Do you think anyone can knock Google off? And is there anyone I might have left off the list for old time popular search engines?