For most users, Google is the go-to search engine. But is it the best search engine? Not according to the developers of Cuil, an unfortunately named but compelling search alternative.
Pronounced “cool” (ugh), the site claims to search three times as many pages as Google and 10 times as many as Microsoft, and does so based on content and relevance (rather than “superficial popularity metrics”).
When you run a search, Cuil presents the results in three columns, complete with a paragraph summary and, where available, an image. Some searches will also produce related tabs with other suggested choices. For example, when I searched for “iPhone,” Cuil gave us tabs for “Apple iPhone,” “Free iPhone,” “New iPhone,” and so on. I also got a drill-down box with categorized links to related subjects, though this doesn’t appear for all searches.
I particularly like Cuil’s dynamic search box, which pops up a list of possible matches as you type (much like Google Toolbar). Unfortunately, the service definitely has some beta issues, and at the moment it doesn’t seem to live up to its indexing claims: I searched for a certain Samsung laser printer and it found zero results, while Google produced lots of them.
While we’re on the subject of search engines, make sure to check out Searchme, which offers visual results akin to Apple’s Cover Flow.