Return to work (2): who needs a new search engine?

A Basex newsletter alerted me to Cuil, a new search engine which claims to index three times as much of the Web as Google and to do a better job of relevance.

Well, I’m not sure. I tested it on the query of the moment: a tool that IBM Research in Haifa are calling the Pensieve. If you’re not a Harry Potter fan, that won’t mean much; but suffice it to say that I expect any search for just Pensieve to throw up more Potter than IBM.

Cuil has no “Advanced Search” facility, at least not yet. So I searched for “IBM Pensieve” (in that order). Cuil does a nice job of displaying its first eight or ten results; it’s a nicely styled page and, at first sight, a lot easier to navigate than Google’s list. But that’s just a nice style sheet I guess. What matters most is results.

So: Cuil’s first two results were both references to the primary research on IBM’s research pages. It was unfortunate that both of them, when clicked, gave Error 404; IBM have presumably moved them since they were indexed. Cuil also found a reference to research at Purdue University which is part of the project. But the rest of the 8 results were irrelevant.

Google’s first page of results were all connected to the IBM project. But none of them were direct references to the primary research. The one reference was to a video page spanning a range of topics. The rest were commentary from a range of sources.

But Google improved when I added “” to the search terms and delivered the link you see below – better, in fact, than the one I found for myself by using the search on Cuil, at this point, returned no hits.

Watch this space, I guess. But I ain’t switching my default search engine just yet

PS – Pensieve uses the images, sounds, and text recorded on mobile devices to help people recall names, faces, conversations and other important information.

• Cuil
• Made in IBM Labs: IBM Research Develops Technology to Aid Human Memory, IBM Press Room, 29 Jul 2008 (with video)

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