Ex-Google workers launch ‘Cuil’ search engine

Analysis

A group of former Google engineers have launched a rival Internet search engine Cuil this week, calling it an improved version of the world’s most popular web-scouring tool.

Cuil’s founders include former Google staffer Anna Patterson. Patterson intends to upstage Google, which she quit in 2006 to develop a more comprehensive and efficient way to scour the Internet. The end result is Cuil, pronounced “cool.” Backed by $33 million in venture capital, the search engine began processing requests for the first time on Monday.

Cuil had kept a low profile while Patterson, her husband, Tom Costello, and two other former Google engineers — Russell Power and Louis Monier — searched for better ways to search. Cuil’s search index spans 120 billion Web pages. Patterson believes that’s at least three times the size of Google’s index, although there is no way to know for certain. Google stopped publicly quantifying its index’s breadth nearly three years ago when the catalog spanned 8.2 billion Web pages. Cuil won’t divulge the formula it has developed to cover a wider swath of the Web with far fewer computers than Google. And Google isn’t ceding the point: Spokeswoman Katie Watson said her company still believes its index is the largest.

After getting inquiries about Cuil, Google asserted on its blog Friday, that it regularly scans through 1 trillion unique Web links. But Google said it doesn’t index them all because they either point to similar content or would diminish the quality of its search results in some other way. The posting didn’t quantify the size of Google’s index. A search index’s scope is important because information, pictures and content can’t be found unless they’re stored in a database. But Cuil believes it will outshine Google in several other ways, including its method for identifying and displaying pertinent results. (Gulf News)

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