I found the worst search engine in the world, and it’s not what you think it is. It's cuil.com (pronounced 'cool'). Founded by some ex-google execs, it sounded like it had some potential and got a lot of press when it launched today. But I couldn't agree more with PCMag when they say, "The New Cuil Search Engine Sucks."
Just how bad is it? Let me demostrate...
The home page does look kind of cuil, and it has a nice word prediction feature as you type your query. But that's where the cuilness ends.
First of all, it fails the ultimate test. If I type in "Alex Heaton" it doesn't even have this site, alexheaton.com. Just a bunch of imposter sites.
And that's if your lucky and the site actually works at all. Most of the time you get a 404 or some such error message.
In the 1 in 1,617,892,992 chance that the site actually works, my favorite feature is the "Explore by Category" links on the right side. According to their features page, "By looking at these suggestions, you may discover search data, concepts, or related areas of interest that you hadn’t expected." I'll say... Search for 'wonderbra' and for a category it suggest "mormonism"?
I feel most sorry for Cuil's investors, which include Seattle's Madrona Capital Partners. Some guys from Madrona taught a class when I was going to UW. I bet they thought this was their chance to get in on the next Google.
I'm sure that Cuil has gone down in flames so badly on day 1 that they won't recover. They won't go public, they won't be acquired by anyone, game over.
Their biggest mistake was not calling it beta. If the thing is not ready, then call it a beta. Then if it sucks you can just say, hey its just a beta. Look at gmail, it works just fine but they still call it a beta years later. Look at MobileMe from Apple--they didn't call it a beta and look what happened.