Cuil launched recently with lavish PR and buzz, and soon learned that attention can be a double-edged sword. Under intense scrutiny, it flopped within hours, as weird results, a strange service architecture, misplaced images, and the name itself worked against it. Blogs, instant messages, emails, and phone conversations drove sword after sword into its bulky index, turning the PR charge into a gruesome bloodsport.

One especially odd architectural element was to make results worse (by taking parts of the index offline) as traffic mounted. If your main bragging point is about the size and comprehensiveness of your index, you would think that you would architect the underlying technology to preserve that differentiator at all costs.

Plenty of sizzle, but a tough, unappetizing steak.

Yet, there is a search engine worth watching these days (nod to Joe Wikert’s blog for reminding me of this one): Searchme. The interface is reminiscent of iTunes or the iPhone, and this might be a wise move given the potential for enterprise adoption of the iPhone 3G as a standalone portable computing platform. The index is not as complete as you might hope, yet the category suggestions and the ability to make and supplement stacks hints at a custom search experience that is also portable. There are features (the slide-up preview, the visualization) that really work well, and set this one apart.

I like what they’re cooking. It smells good. They seem to be focusing on the meal and how it’s served, not just on the sizzle.

The denizens of the Scholarly Kitchen respect that . . .

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Kent Anderson

Kent Anderson

Kent Anderson is the CEO of RedLink and RedLink Network, a past-President of SSP, and the founder of the Scholarly Kitchen. He has worked as Publisher at AAAS/Science, CEO/Publisher of JBJS, Inc., a publishing executive at the Massachusetts Medical Society, Publishing Director of the New England Journal of Medicine, and Director of Medical Journals at the American Academy of Pediatrics. Opinions on social media or blogs are his own.


3 Thoughts on "Cuil? Searchme."

It’s quite a coincident that you prefer to “smell” if a search engine is doing good. Not so long ago Robert Scoble, a famous punter in his own right, went about looking for good-smelling startups.

I admit that searching on Searchme is cool. Their presentation makes it slower to skim through the results as compared to Google, but I at least found results to be different from Google – which is good as long as they are pertinent.

I agree with Joe Wikert’s assessment of Cuil, and you make a good point that Cuil is more about the sizzle than the steak. Searchme has a lot of potential. I still find use Google for many of my searches, although I find I’m cross- checking its results with Searchme more and more often.

Hmm… Searchme seems interesting, thanks for posting it. I think I’m going to have to check it out.

– Segan

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