Like every other tech-interested person on the planet, I tried out cuil today to see whether it would indeed by the Google-killer it advertises itself as. (Cuil also advertises itself as superior to Microsoft's search engine, but Microsoft doesn't need an external enemy to kill it. Vista will do that by itself.) I'm undoubtedly not the only one to have gotten a "server busy" notice, nor am I the first to comment that this is really inexcusable. There are likely hundreds of thousands if not millions of potential early adopters who now won't bother with Cuil. If you shoot at the king, don't miss.
Cuil sells itself as superior to Google in two respects: 1) It searches more pages; 2) It gives better results because it's not just a popularity contest. I get 1). Searching more pages does seem better than searching fewer. But the attack on Google's page-rank system seems misguided. That system can be gamed (as former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum can certainly attest. Don't believe me? Google Santorum.) But for the most part, the genius of the Google algorithm is its ability to harness the wisdom of crowds.
Cuil claims to give better results through tabs and content analysis, but so far it's just weird. If you cuil "Dorf on Law" you get a random collection of my blog entries, with random unrelated pictures attached. And it's slow. At least today. Count me as a skeptic.
Posted by Mike Dorf