Who"s davidlian?

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davidlian is an ultra-geeky chinese dude that works for a technology PR agency. He loves fiddling with techno-toys, plays Warhammer 40K, and shoots pictures wherever he goes. Here, he rants about PR, Technology and anything else. Don't expect balance and un-biased, he ain't no journalist. Anything said on this blog are solely davidlian's personal views. Don't confuse them with company mantra, client's views or views of any organisation he may be part of.


Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Move over Google, here comes Cuil

Cuil (pronounced simply as "cool") launched just a couple of hours ago and already, the internet's abuzz with it.

Cuil - The new Google? - Share on Ovi

Now, you can read in-depth about Cuil and its history with Google (the two founders are from Google) here, but I just wanted to share here briefly why in my 2 hours of using Cuil, I'm now a firm believer we may be seeing the next evolution in search.

Google made huge impact with the geek crowd when it presented a minimalistic front-page (as opposed to Yahoo's) with nothing more than a search bar. Cuil does the same, why move away from a proven formula after all? Where things start to get different is after you've typed in your search and are whisked away to the search results page. To put it shortly, Cuil makes searches more organised than Google ever did.

Cuil - the new Google? - Share on Ovi

Instead of line-after-line of search results, I really love the 'categories' tabs that Cuil organises your search results under. For example, when I searched 'Bangsar', the search results page lands me to a neatly arranged two-columns of search results but with a 'category' sidebar that suggests I 'explore' categories like 'Kuala Lumpur', 'Towns in Selangor', 'Shopping Malls in Kuala Lumpur' and other relevant categories. Clicking on the category sidebar gives me even more specific options - like expanding 'Towns in Selangor' you can get 'Ampang'.

What this then creates is the opportunity for you to simply discover more relevant information on things you might be interested in discovering. Seamless. Another example here is that when i key in 'Miniatures' I get a category tab that lists down various boardgame companies, or miniature wargaming companies which I might not have been aware of.

Cuil - the new Google? - Share on Ovi

The secret is in Cuil's search algorithm. That's right, the fundamental component to all search engines. While Google uses the very well-analysed PageRank system, Cuil introduces a more 'contextual' approach to search.

Basically, Cuil's search algorithm creates relationships between certain words - for example it recognised for me that 'Bangsar' was in 'Kuala Lumpur' and in the country of 'Malaysia'. Hence, I not only got results that contained the word 'Bangsar' but also a whole set of 'categories' that were built closely around the context of my search.

I like this method of search (often touted as 'semantic search') and clearly, this is going to be the future of what we want from our search services. Of course, sometimes, our own success can be our downfall as was the case when Cuil.com went down for a bit earlier today. I guess the biggest challenge isn't going to be winning over the Google crowd (they've won me over!) but in ramping up infrastructure to cope with the mass traffic they will get when people start hopping over in droves.

Oh, one last thing, if you were wondering how to add Cuil to your search bar (instead of using Google as default) in FireFox, just surf over to the Cuil webpage and scroll down to the bottom of the page. Click on the link right at the bottom that says 'Add Cuil to Firefox' and you're all set.
Cuil - the new Google? - Share on Ovi



Ken said...

Yet another search engine to index our website in.

Tried searching using Cuil and we're not in the top pages (keyword: cekik darah) at all.

If it grows really well, webmasters really have to look into this search engine.

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suanie said...

it's a bit like yahoo!
well, don't know lah. have to wait for a few months to see how it turns out.

btw i didn't like knol. did you?

davidlian said...

@ken: Please do. I like the idea of semantic search, and despite being disappointed by Powerset, I see real potential in Cuil. The more people optimising for Cuil, the better.
@Suanie: I think knols are redundant. It's such a Mahalo / Wikipedia wannabe. The only thing different is that it's Google.

oOFooi said...

Worth a try.. Is not bad at all after all... It could get what i want.. cheers..:)

davidlian said...

@oofooi: As it indexes more pages, it will only get better.