Daily Debrief: Is Cuil really so cool? Video
Daily Debrief: Is Cuil really so cool? Video Transcript
[ Music ] ^M00:00:02
>> [Inaudible] view of a new search engine has some people wondering are we talking about the next Google.
>> Of course, if I had a nickel for every time somebody have mention that over the years I'd be as rich as Eric Schmidt, of course, I'm only Charlie Cooper. And I'm here only with Rafe Needleman of Webware. Welcome to the CNET NEW's daily debrief. And we're talking of course about cuil, which is a new search engine, and has received an inordinate amount of publicity. Why are people making such a big deal about Cuil, Cuil, I should mention.
>> That's right. Well, it's a very big launch. It's well funded. One of the founders is one of the architects of Google Search engine. It was a company that was acquired, that became part of Google. Now, she left and helped to start this engine. And their pitch is very grand. It's faster, bigger, which is a big thing. And they say, better in its search results then google. Now, other search engines have said this. But maybe it's the timing, maybe it's the pile on effect of the media, but everybody is tracking Cuil right now. And sadly, it's not doing all that well.
>> All right, we'll, get into that in a moment...
>> Yeah. Okay.
>> But what's different about Cuil? Is it the way they index pages?
>> What users will notice as being different is the way the results are displayed. Instead of seeing a list of links with a small amount of text, Cuil tries to parch [assumed spelling] the pages and give you the relevant paragraph, or almost a paragraph, plus pictures in a three-column newspaper like format with tabs to break out related searches and little boxes showing you sub searches on things. So if you search for a result where there are different categories of results. If you search for, example they give you, if you search for Harry, you'll get a tab for Harry Potter, a tab for Prince Harry of Wales. Under the Harry Potter tab, you'll get sub links for Gryffindor, for actors, for directors, for movie stuff like that.
>> So more of a semantic [assumed spelling] or a...
>> Intelligent way of approaching...
>> It. Okay. So we're now what about thirteen hours into this...
>> What's been your experience so far? Because I'll tell you, I've been [inaudible] a few times and the search hasn't been all that wonderful.
>> Yeah, the, they have a different architecture on how they search. First of all they've gotten hammered by everybody as you said, and because of the way the engine, this Cuil search engine is architecture, where they've gotten certain machines devoted to certain categories as opposed to a massive architecture like Google does. They said that the load takes these machines offline and the results that get returned are from other machines that aren't so loaded and are therefore bad. Regardless, it's a very unsatisfying experience right now, thirteen hours post launch, I'm really hoping, everybody's really hopping, except maybe for Google they manage to improve their results.
>> Thirteen hours, of course, it's only...
>> A snapshot, we'll see how it goes. Cuil claims to have...
>> Over 120 billion pages indexes...
>> [Inaudible]. It's a bit of a throwback to the early days of search when you had companies like Alta Vista, and Lycos, we're talking about the numbers. Is this a case where size really doesn't matter, because at a certain point, if you are returning so many pages, the usefulness decreases?
>> Cuil is trying to return different results from Google, and they're trying to return more relevant results based on not page rank, which is what Google does, where the searches are ranked based on how many links are into a page, which shows what they think is relevant. Cuil is trying to search base on as you said, kind of a semantic or contextual relevance. And in that case the number of search results that they have to choose from, the number of index pages they have to choose from really does matter, because they can't just go by, well this isn't a popular page, they have to go by this is an accurate page. So it's a very different model. And I think they do need that large corpuses [assumed spelling] of pages in order to come up with results that are both accurate and different.
>> You've been following this [inaudible] for quite some time, what's the likely endgame here, does it go on to bigger and better or does it wind up like PowerSet, which was a search related company acquired subsequently by Microsoft?
>> Yeah, PowerSet was acquired for their natural language search technology, probably a pretty good outcome for the guys at PowerSet.
>> Very good [inaudible].
>> Yeah, unless they wanted it to be a stand alone engine, but, of course, [inaudible] Microsoft exposure. It depends on the management, on how this thing plays out; it depends on whether they can monetize [assumed spelling] it. If they can fix it, if they can maintain the funding levels necessary to build out their server [inaudible], which they're going to need to compete if they have this level of traffic.
>> And depends on the popularity.
>> Is there, is the market out there rooting for an underdog to take on Google, if not yahoo and Microsoft?
>> I think inside the tech bubble [assumed spelling], sure people are always rooting for an underdog, and in the journalism bubble, of course, because it's good stories. In the real world, google is a verb. You know, no other search engine has that, has won that place in our consciousness, so taking over that, that's a hard challenge. Now, any search engine CEO, will tell you, you don't need to take over Google in order to make a nice profit. You know, the search business is very well understood as a business. You can make money with a subset of search results. The thing is, you have to keep growing, and at some point, you bump into Google. Can they do it? It's been done, Google did it, you know, but it's a bigger world now.
>> Good stuff. Thanks, Rafe.
>> On behalf of Rafe Needleman, I'm Charlie Cooper. ^M00:05:44 [ Music ]
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