Cuil is a new search engine (as well as a small bay in the Scottish Highlands) founded by ex-Googlers as the latest assault on the north face of Mountain View. A visit to Cuil.com gives a very simple and different user experience. It’s a search engine and (errr) that’s it.
The results are presented in an almost news like format and merge text and multimedia where possible in the results. About there is where the problems begin. This neat trick is somewhat less neat when the image and the text are in opposition and some of the resulting oxymorons are hard to explain. A search for GroupM brings back a prominent series of references to our acquisition of IEG a few years ago juxtaposed with a picture of the CEO of Ogilvy who was not too close to that transaction.
The service also offers up ‘an explore by category’ box which offers tangential links. A search on WPP CEO Sir Martin Sorrell brings us categories such as Old Haberdashers (his high school), HBS Alumni (he is one) and hilariously Radio One DJ’s (he is not one as far as I know).
Let’s hope that Cuil learns a little discrimination to go along with the elegant art direction and that a new consumer (and advertiser) choice emerges.