Irishman launches Cuil but will it scare Google?

28 Jul 2008

Google: I Want Your Soul video

Cuil (previously known as Cuill) has launched its brand new search engine today after receiving €25m in funding back in April.

The California-based start-up is led by Irishman, Tom Costello, a computing graduate of Trinity College Dublin and his wife Anna Patterson, the president of Cuil and former Google employee.

Cuil’s new search engine is the first product to be seriously touted as representing plausible competition to Google.

Both and Windows Live search received significant makeovers in the recent past in terms of both the look and the search technology behind the scenes but there has been no notable new rivals to the established reigning king of search, Google.

While the Jimmy Wales-backed Wikia Search was launched earlier this year, even the Wikipedia co-founder admitted it was in no way, shape or form a threat to Google.

Cuil sets itself apart from the traditional search engine by not just searching for keywords on a page it is about to index – it also scans the rest of the page’s text for more context and relevance. The example the company gave on the official site is the word ‘jaguar’ – it said Cuil will return more relevant results for the user based on determining from the main text whether the jaguar in question is the cat, car or operating system.

“The web continues to grow at a fantastic rate and other search engines are unable to keep up with it,” said Tom Costello, CEO and co-founder of Cuil.

“Our significant breakthroughs in search technology have enabled us to index much more of the internet, placing nearly the entire web at the fingertips of every user.

In addition, Cuil presents searchers with content-based results, not just popular ones, providing different and more insightful answers that illustrate the vastness and the variety of the web.”

Cuil displays its search results with an accompanying picture that it chooses as relevant to the page based on an algorithmic process. However, when searching for, some of the results showed pictures bearing no relevance.

While Cuil says it is the world’s biggest search engine, only time will tell if it can compete with Google – a difficult task considering those playing second fiddle to Google –Yahoo! and Microsoft – come far, far behind in terms of second and third most popular.

Cuil, the company said, is the old Irish word for ‘knowledge’. It is also the modern Irish word for ‘corner’, so here’s hoping Cuil can carve out its own successful niche or corner of the web.

By Marie Boran

Pictured: Cuil’s homepage

Google: I Want Your Soul video