Cuil not so cool


Anna Patterson's last internet search engine was so impressive that industry leader Google bought the technology in 2004 to upgrade its own system. She believes her latest invention is even more valuable - only this time it's not for sale. Patterson instead 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 $US33 million ($A34.6 million) in venture capital, the search engine was set to begin processing requests for the first time today. 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.

Now, it's boasting time. For starters, Cuil's search index spans 120 billion web pages. Patterson believes that is 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.

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I tested by doing a search on the topic I know most about: "John Ray". The results were crazy. I am always on the first page of a Google search but just produced page after page of duplicated results about the 18th century English naturalist of the same name. Why they had to repeat the same result endlessly, I don't know. Try it for yourself and see what it does. A couple of other modern-day John Rays got a look in but they were on some occasions teamed with a picture of the 18th century guy. MUCH more work needed before this is a useful search tool -- JR

Posted by John Ray. For a daily critique of Leftist activities, see DISSECTING LEFTISM. For a daily survey of Australian politics, see AUSTRALIAN POLITICS Also, don't forget your roundup of Obama news and commentary at OBAMA WATCH

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