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Cuil: Not Cool

Craig Matsumoto
7/29/2008

3:30 PM -- I tried two cursory Cuil searches this morning, just to tap into all the hype. Neither one was inspiring.

My default search test, since the pre-Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) days, is Tim Berne, a New York-based saxophonist. Berne's own Website comes up -- fine. Wikipedia does too. (A pet peeve I have with all search engines: If I wanted a guy's Wikipedia entry, I'd be searching there.)

After that, Cuil's first page of results lists not the usual passel of interviews and reviews, not even a MySpace page, but a handful of (legit) MP3 sites and other musicians' bios. Oh -- I guess it does list one review, from 1999. Eh. I give it a D+.

Second test: A random baseball player. Willy Taveras, a Colorado Rockies outfielder who has an outside chance of getting traded in the next couple of days.

Cuil's top hits include four news stories about Taveras getting benched -- in last October's World Series -- and a random news article from March. Useless. The "Explore by Category" bar doesn't realize Taveras plays for Colorado, and instead suggests baseball links for Houston (Taveras's old team), San Francisco, and Los Angeles (both irrelevant). They throw Baseball Reference a bone, at least, but this search still gets an F.

They're atypical searches, I suppose, and they don't take advantage of Cuil's super-deep spider crawling. I'm still unimpressed.

— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading

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