After two years of giving bad search results, it looks like one of the world’s shorter lived and less well known search engines has finally called it quits. According to this article on Wikipedia, the company closed its doors on September 17th 2010. The idea behind Cuil seemed like a good one. Take the largest snapshot of the web that you can and let the natural relations of the items in that index create richer search results. The problem with that approach is one of accuracy, or in this case the lack thereof.
TechCrunch summed up the problem right away and it didn’t take a marketing genius to realize the problems of pairing images with articles from around the web. There were reports of pornographic images showing up next to entirely unrelated search results, and of competing brandings being associated together. Can you imagine the press release of the Windows 7 phone being paired with an Apple logo? If the service didn’t slowly die through lack of use, I could only imagine it was a matter of time before the lawsuits would do the job instead.
Bye bye, Cuil. Nice idea, but the web just isn’t ready yet.