Tag Archives: Cuil

The Guile of Cuil

Without much hullabaloo, with stealth-like precision, a handful of ex-Google employees (and others) launched a rival search engine: Cuil – which, according the About page is the Irish word for knowledge (although there appears to be some dispute about what it actually means).  Semantics aside, there is even debate over the pronunciation of Cuil – in a press release, its’ founders advise that it should be pronounced “cool”.  I suppose they’re hoping that search enthusiasts will replace “Google it” with “Cuil it”?

Naturally I looked myself up using Cuil.  I was pleased to see my own web-site appear first. However, what is that car doing there?

So then I looked for “craig murphy” tdd. The results were interesting. The results are shown in the image below. Firstly, I was pleasantly surprised to see Wikipedia at the top. I didn’t know that my article Improving Application Quality Using Test-Driven Development at Method & Tools had been referenced on Wikipedia (thanks to whoever is responsible!)  Secondly, the images were, on the whole, reasonably relevant…based on the content – as the picture of the Youngsters at DDD2 demonstrates (more about this in a moment).

On the right-hand side of the image below, the developer.* link, who are those guys? I suspect they are part of the developer.* team on some sort of social outing, but the image is so small it’s unclear what’s going on. Refreshing the search results does sometimes lead to pictures of the book cover for Software Creativity, which is perhaps more appropriate.

However, whilst the images were useful, I did notice that some spurious entries were showing up. Take the result below as an example. It uses a photograph that I took (The Youngsters at DDD) and associates it with a URL linking here: http://www.webfetch.com/uk.wpro.rss/search/web/Craig The information at that URL is fairly general – whilst the information that is referenced by Cuil is there, you do have to hunt for it. But it’s not perfect: “Craig Atkinson UK based Artist / Illustrator. Hire me now damn it. CRAIG ATKINSON. fine art + illustration. available…” – this extra information has nothing to do with my search. Some work on the result filters may be required.

Of course, the photograph is on the Internet, although it’s not implicitly in the public domain, I guess that is inferred and assumed.  However this just goes to demonstrate what can happen to your photographs. May be I should start to add watermarks and release some event photos under an attribution model of sorts? That last question was, of course, rhetoric. It’s still interesting to see that Cuil have found a means of associating textual content about me with photographic content produced by me.

Poor typists and the dyslexic fraternity may be disturbed to learn that misspelling Cuil could lead you to sites of disrepute, as the first entry on this Google search confirms: http://www.google.co.uk/search?hl=en&q=CULI.COM&meta= 

At this early stage, I think that the folks behind Cuil have exhibited considerable guile with their claim to have indexed 3 times as many pages as the nearest competition (today, 30/07/2008 – Search 121,617,892,992 web pages). May be they have managed to index that many pages…I’m sure that I’m not alone in wanting to see the infrastructure required to handle the index and user demand.

Within hours of its launch, the publicity surrounding Cuil was frenzy-like: it was both slated and commended as something that will mature into worthy competition for other search engines. More the former than that latter, I might add.

Is it cool to exhibit such guile? No doubt time will tell.

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