Cuil – a search engine to rival Google?

Ok, it’s very early days but it’s interesting that, after I thought that Google had conquered the world, new search engines are coming into being and they offer good/interesting alternatives. I have discussed, in this blog, some of the visual alternatives and today I found out about Cuil, not visual but with some good features.

Launched today, Cuil is a new search engine, created by a team of people, some of whom once worked for Google, with the goal of searching the entire Internet in a way that gets the most relevant results.

The look is different to Google in that the results are displayed in 2 or 3 columns, and has a few clustering options, helping to narrow down search topics as well as some small images. I searched Black Death (one of the topics in a history study). and the results were reasonably useful.

Results

Results

You can easily drill down by using the grey panel on the right-hand side. Under the heading “explore by category”. This panel lists subjects that are related to the search and maybe of interest to the searcher but not thought of in the initial search. When you pause on any of the terms, suggested in this category area, there is a roll-over that gives a definition of that term.

Also, there are often tabs at the top of the screen that offer you other choices and suggestions.

At the initial search page, as you are typing in you search term, it also offers you suggestions for alternative search terms.

In the short space of time I had to use this search engine, I believe it shows promise. I tried a number of the search terms that our students might use when they are researching various class assignments and found that the results were useful. Occassionally some of the content found was repetitive and I have always

For student use, is it better than Mooter, iBoogie for clustering? I would say no but it offers some of this aspect alongside the traditional searching. Is it better than Anzwers, Excite, Alltheweb, Mahalo, Ask.com and all the other search engines, subject directories or or meta-search engines? Of course not, but each has its strengths and weaknesses. Depending on what you are looking for and what you prefer to use, you may choose any of the above or any other. It is a new search engine that focuses content, the topic you are searching for. Google, that all our students are familiar with, has many poor (not relevant) results, especially if they are not using the advanced searching options. Google has all the other options that it offers and people tend to stay with what they are familiar/comfortable with. I want to show our students that there is “more to life(searching) than Google” and to be aware of their other options.

This week we are working on some research with year 7 students and we will test out Cuil as part of our research and see what the students find.

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