The new search engine Cuil made a big mistake: it didn’t think about how early adopters and influencers would react to it.
What’s the first thing everyone does with a new search engine? Search for themselves, of course. (I suppose not everyone is so ego-driven, but then those people probably don’t write articles or blog.) So that’s what the influencers did (and so did I). And the results Cuil returns for that tend to stink.
I have a pretty unusual last name that’s also my domain name, so when I search for engelke on Google I find links referring to me in the first page of results. I’m at the second search result just now. But when I search on Cuil I find no references to me on the first page (or second, or third, or… I gave up looking). When I search for charles engelke (no quotes) on Google, seven of the ten links refer to me. The same search on Cuil is more ego-reassuring than the first was: nine of the eleven links refer to me.
But Cuil also has a big “Explore by Category” box on that page that just seems bizarre: the categories are Irish Comedians, German Comedians, The Simpsons Characters, American Stand-up Comedians, Second-city Alumni, and American Comedians. Not a single link on the results page refers to anyone related to any of those things, just to me and to a physicist (who, oddly enough, was at SUNY at Stony Brook the same time as me).
Finally, searching for “charles engelke” (with the quotes) on Google gives about the same result as without the quotes (eight of ten), on Cuil it looks like the quotes made no difference at all, except the weird “Explore by Category” box is gone.
I think that one reason for the big differences I’m seeing is that Cuil is giving much more weight to German language pages than Google seems to. I don’t know if Google is short-changing German because my search language is English, or if Cuil is over-emphasizing it. But pretty much all the results on Cuil (and the first one on Google) are for Anke Engelke, a German comic actress and talk show host. And even though she doesn’t show up on the Cuil results page for charles engelke, I think she’s the reason for the “Explore by Category” box with all the different kinds of comedians listed.