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Cuil Proves the Bubble Is Back 496

MattSparkes writes "Cuil may only have launched this week, but it seems that they're already enjoying late-'90s boom-style comforts. 'Lunch is ordered in every single day. Huge fridges burst with snacks and drinks. Bowls of strawberries and muffins lie around the rest area. The company pays for a personal trainer and gym membership for everyone. A doctor calls round each Friday, after the weekly barbeque, to see if everyone's in good health. Employees drift in an out at times that suit themselves.' Seems like an awesome place to work, but how long will their $25 million VC funding last at this rate?"
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Cuil Proves the Bubble Is Back

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  • by eldavojohn ( 898314 ) * <> on Thursday July 31, 2008 @09:13AM (#24415193) Journal

    Cuil Proves the Bubble Is Back

    First of all, a single anecdote does not prove anything. If you included eBay's Skype deal or Google's YouTube deal ... wait, scratch that last one. See, there's constantly non-prudent business deals and every now and then you see a real whopper.

    Lunch is ordered in every single day. Huge fridges burst with snacks and drinks. Bowls of strawberries and muffins lie around the rest area. The company pays for a personal trainer and gym membership for everyone. A doctor calls round each Friday, after the weekly barbecue, to see if everyone's in good health. Employees drift in an out at times that suit themselves.

    Do you think that this is what caused the dot com bubble? Do you think the vast majority of people were living like this when it burst? I'm no economist but I thought that the problem wasn't with how the IT and Web Site companies were spending their money but rather what the customers they found were giving them money for--basically nothing. A few HTML pages? Not even worth my time to read?

    $25 million in venture capital is nothing these days. Let them burn it. Yeah, we'll all be laughing a couple months from now when they're busting their asses to find some income--or maybe they are correct in thinking they are the next Google. Hell, Slashdot ran a story [] reporting them to index more than Google. With the kind of press they achieved, maybe they're right to live like royalty for a bit?

    Does anyone look back on Google and say "They hired a massage artist? Proof the bubble is back!" No, because they thought they were going to be big and they were.

    You want to prevent another bubble? Don't take a job where you're not sure how you or any of your coworkers draw revenue from real customers who in turn receive some service or product that makes complete sense. That's how you prevent a bubble. And unless you're part of the 1% calling the shots on how to spend money, you needn't worry about how other companies spend their money. This frivolous spending should just make it easier for Google to beat their bottom line and steal customers back. And if they can't, well then let Cuil rake large piles of capital together and set them afire to their heart's content.

    • by tha_mink ( 518151 ) on Thursday July 31, 2008 @09:31AM (#24415483)
      I think that the bigger proof is that their product sucks ass. Go try and use it. I looked for "aes zip linux" and got 0 results. 0 results? Really? You index *more* than google and you can't find ONE reference to "aes zip linux"? I tried to use that thing, but it doesn't seem to enjoy providing me with any results. To me *that* is proof that they are a bubble company. Where's the beef?
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by cronot ( 530669 )
      What 'tha_mink' said. Plus, their page design is too bloated, it takes too long to load the results page, compared to Google, with its simplistic design, that loads almost instantly. I've scrapped Cuil just for that.
    • by Zarf ( 5735 )

      You sir, walk softly and carry a big clue-bat.

    • by JonnyDomestik ( 1190331 ) on Thursday July 31, 2008 @09:49AM (#24415717)
      Well I am an economist actually and while I don't think that anybody is saying that this sort of spending caused the bubble, they are symptomatic of the sort of investing that happens in a bubble. Of course, with the economy going the way it is, all this is pretty much moot since there is clearly not a lot of speculative investment going on.
    • Sure it does (Score:3, Insightful)

      by DogDude ( 805747 )
      Of course it means something. It's attitude. The company is badly run because the management sees fit to waste tons of money before a single nickel is generated. It's bad management, plain and simple. The VC's, if they were smart, should be outraged.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 31, 2008 @09:13AM (#24415215)

    I know that many people will say that perks like these are only positives because they can only make people happier about their job, which is good for the employee and good for the employer as well.

    I would like to suggest that it's not all roses in reality. I have worked at places where the employer provided lots of cushy perks and I found that it tends to attract a certain type of employee: the type who wants the job not because they like the work, but because they like the perks. In my experience this type of employee is not the best for the company; and what's worse, the general working environment tends to become antiproductive even for employees who otherwise would be more productive.

    I have found that in Silicon Valley companies, there is almost a sense of pride taken in how unstructured the working environment is. The "cool, hip" companies are the ones that encourage their employees to engage in nerf gun fights, have parties every Friday, and generally play around on company time. Sometimes it is hard for me to believe that these companies can be globally competitive, but maybe companies all over the world are all doing the same things.

    I personally believe that there is a fine balance between too much carrot, and too much stick, but that the answer certainly does not come from throwing the stick out completely. I am most motivated when there are expectations of me, and I have worked at companies where expectations are disturbingly low. I honestly believe that most people, even if they won't admit it, need a bit of structure in their working environment to be most productive.

    There is definitely a desire for people to believe that the best working environment is the one where the employer puts the least demands on its employees and gives all of the best perks possible, and that such an environment would make everyone more productive if only employers weren't so pig-headed and could just realize that ... but I think this is really wishful thinking. It actually worries me that software companies in the USA are often like this because somewhere there must be companies that Just Get Shit Done (India maybe?) without all of the frivolities and eventually, they're going to dominate. And I want the software industry in the USA to stay healthy because that's how I earn my living.

    By the way, I think that it would be hard to out-cushy Google. Their campus is like Club Med and I have a hard time believing that they get anything close to maximum productivity out of their workforce because of it.

    Posting AC because obviously I don't want my current or past employers or coworkers to somehow get word of this and get pissed off at me.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by gringer ( 252588 )

      Posting AC because obviously I don't want my current or past employers or coworkers to somehow get word of this and get pissed off at me.

      Or, for that matter, my... er, I mean your future employers or coworkers

    • by Joe the Lesser ( 533425 ) on Thursday July 31, 2008 @09:24AM (#24415375) Homepage Journal

      I think there is a balance that is needed. A boring, rigid office will stifle interest and energy, but if it's too silly an office then it's hard to concentrate when the time is right.

      Granted, I've never seen companies pay for daily muffins and stuff (i wonder how many aren't eaten?), but letting your employees have flex time usually lowers stress levels, especially for those with kids.

    • Carrot and Stick (Score:5, Insightful)

      by UncleWilly ( 1128141 ) * <> on Thursday July 31, 2008 @09:28AM (#24415429)

      The only carrot I have ever seen is a paycheck, everything else is a stick.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by CastrTroy ( 595695 )
      I would very much have to agree. If you have a bunch of extra money to spend on employee perks, make it on stuff that actually helps them get stuff done. Get them all good chairs, good workstations with multiple monitors, and private offices. Make it a place people want to work instead of a place where people want to goof off. Having a keg of beer and a block of cheese may seem like some nice perks, but it's not going to help the company get any work done. And it actually really detracts from people wh
    • by HungryHobo ( 1314109 ) on Thursday July 31, 2008 @09:44AM (#24415665)
      Nothing wrong with a decent environment. Keep in mind that particularly in tech companies getting the best can make a big difference. A great coder can get more done than 10 mediocre ones but only cost 2 or 3 times as much to pay. The best and brightest who are already earning enough that money isn't a big problem in their lives are also more likely to want to work somewhere where they're happy rather than going for that extra 5K per year. Sure you could just up the pay but if the cost of the perks/parties is less than what you'd have to pay those same people to keep them in a horrible workplace then you're better off going with the snacks and cola. that being said, people who are not decent workers should be dropped like a rock if they're simply not getting the work done.
    • The "cool, hip" companies are the ones that encourage their employees to engage in nerf gun fights, have parties every Friday, and generally play around on company time.

      Oh, I see! If you have a relaxed atmosphere, that must necessarily mean that there are no expectations and no demands. Interesting premise. Grossly ignorant and wrong... but interesting.

    • by JoeMerchant ( 803320 ) on Thursday July 31, 2008 @10:01AM (#24415915)

      To paraphrase the parent and add my own perspective: the perks aren't the problem if the people are productive.

      Lunch ordered in costs maybe $7 to $15 a head, and unless your employees would be bringing brown bags and eating them at their desk, saves at least 30 minutes of travel and waiting time to and from getting lunch. So, call cost of lunch $11, in return for 30 minutes of productivity - how many of your employees earn less than $22 an hour? And, those that do earn less than $22 an hour probably really appreciate the free lunch, possibly enough that they won't be jumping ship to a company down the street that might pay them $2 an hour more.... Most Google'ers are notoriously underpaid on a cash basis.

      Free gym membership - $30 per month - this one is a little more esoteric, and I can see how working out actually takes time away from working on other things, but if the gym is conveniently located to work, it discourages people from getting a gym membership near their home, makes their life more work-centric, and possibly improves their cardio-vascular health - which actually does have a direct positive effect on cerebral productivity.... Similarly for the doctor on-site one day a week, convenient, health benefiting, time saving, and the cost is near trivial when you compare it to the benefits...

      Now, this is all moot if your employees simply show up to take advantage of the benefits and don't actually do anything productive otherwise... but, these are likely the same employees you find at perkless companies who spend their time surfing the web, making personal phone calls, and leaving their post to run errands 10 hours a week and more. (and posting lengthy responses on /. (oops!)).

  • by neoform ( 551705 ) <> on Thursday July 31, 2008 @09:17AM (#24415293) Homepage

    From what I heard, they had $33 million in capital, strawberries, checkups and BBQs don't use that kind of cash. Over staffing will however. Nothing in this article makes me think they're doing anything over the top like private jet rides to Las Vegas.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jellomizer ( 103300 )

      These perks are fairly cheap, vs. all the other expenses that go on. These type of things probably account for an extra $15 a day per employee That can be made up by improved productivity by the workers less sick days etc... The boom times had this plus paying a basic Web Developer 100k a year, that is without Javascript, Flash, etc. Just doing "HTML" in frontpage.

      • by aldousd666 ( 640240 ) on Thursday July 31, 2008 @09:42AM (#24415635) Journal
        haha, I take it that means you do Javascript then.
        • by jellomizer ( 103300 ) on Thursday July 31, 2008 @12:16PM (#24418479)

          Yes I do and about 2 dozen other "real" computer languages. There is nothing wrong for javascript it is good for solving particular problems that need to be solved most particularly handling UI for a web page. While saving the server the job of handling the data. As the Non-Javascript alternatives would be a plugin based languge, or having the server handle everything on post backs (slow for you, slow for the web server and slow on the database server (having to requery information that it already has gotten).

          HTML is one of the few widely acceptable and easy to use methods for running applications remotely (remote X connections are not common as you need special software installed on windows, and it is not normally easy to setup (for the average user)) Using Javascript with HTML offers better load balancing solution as the Desktop usually has a lot of CPU that is barely utilized while the server is usally running at higher levels.

          Back in the 1990's bubble Web Development was separate from application development for the most part. Today it is becoming more and more integrated and the line between web developer and application developer is far more blurred.

  • How Long? (Score:5, Informative)

    by doomicon ( 5310 ) on Thursday July 31, 2008 @09:18AM (#24415301) Homepage Journal

    " how long will their $25 million VC funding last at this rate?"

    Based on my late 90's Start up runs in NYC, I would say the Doctor and Free Gym Personal Trainer will be gone in two weeks, the food in a month, and 75% of the employees in 3 months.

    Stories like this may even bring PuD back to F**kedcompany postings.

    • Re:How Long? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by tillerman35 ( 763054 ) on Thursday July 31, 2008 @10:25AM (#24416357)
      I worked for a startup company that burned through $40M in six months. It's actually pretty easy to figure out when to jump ship based on the number and quality of perks. When they get rid of the bottled water and put in one of those big coolers with the 20-gallon bottle, it's time to leave. Prior to that, just enjoy the dot-com salary and catered lunches while they last and watch the slow slide into insolvency with quiet amusement.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by immcintosh ( 1089551 )

        When they get rid of the bottled water and put in one of those big coolers with the 20-gallon bottle, it's time to leave.

        Either that, or it's time to be grateful that your company decided not to contribute to one of the most absurdly wasteful excesses of modern society. My workplace is great, but we ditched those water bottles a while ago. I only wish every company would.

  • by Kazymyr ( 190114 ) on Thursday July 31, 2008 @09:18AM (#24415311) Journal

    From my experience with using Cuil for a few days, it is utterly and completely useless in its present form. Yes it's nice visually, but it's a search engine got heaven's sake - visually pleasant is nothing if the searches don't return anything useful.

    • by 4D6963 ( 933028 ) on Thursday July 31, 2008 @09:30AM (#24415473)
      Cuil is pretty much living on the lie that it has over 120 billion index pages, which as it turns out [] after using it a bit seems indeed like complete and utter bullcrap. Without this claim (that their index is 3 times bigger than Google's, yeah right..) they're just another trier with a design some people argue is nice.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by quadrox ( 1174915 )
        When I tried out cuil the first time (first slashdot post) it had lots of problems finding just about anything. But I just tried again today and got pretty much all the results I wanted. Not all of them in the top spot, but the results have improved quite a bit.

        If they keep improving Cuil may well become better than google (in terms of relevant results). Right now it's so-so, but that doesn't mean you should completely dismiss it.

        I for one am looking forward to seing some real competition and new feat
        • by 4D6963 ( 933028 )

          When I tried out cuil the first time (first slashdot post) it had lots of problems finding just about anything. But I just tried again today and got pretty much all the results I wanted. Not all of them in the top spot, but the results have improved quite a bit.

          Very true! I just tried again a few searches I tried the first time and not only it finds more but their reported result count is consistent with how many they display. Maybe that's what I get for e-mailing them about those inconsistencies the prev

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by hobbit ( 5915 )

        Maybe it's not a lie, and they just index all the link farms to which Google give the go-by.

        "Number of web pages indexed" is a completely useless metric on the modern internet.

        • by 4D6963 ( 933028 )

          Maybe it's not a lie

          Right, so that's not a lie, however if you look for rare keywords on Cuil you'll see a thousand times less results than Google. So they've indexed 120 billion pages but they will only let you search through 40 millions? Hmm. Your ideas are intriguing to me and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Major Blud ( 789630 )
      Man I couldn't agree with you more. I gave it the benefit of a doubt, and tried it for a day. It was complete waste of time. Don't believe me? Do a search on Google of "Slashdot Wikipedia" and then do the same search on Cuil. Google acts as expected...the first link posted is the Wikipedia article about Slashdot. On Cuil, it brings you to a Slashdot article referencing the history of Wikipedia. It proves that just indexing a bazillion pages is useless if you can't effectively *use* those indexes. The
    • by GweeDo ( 127172 ) on Thursday July 31, 2008 @09:56AM (#24415825) Homepage

      search for "lock ness monster"
      Google: images of Nessie, links to wikipedia and other helpful sites
      Cuil: a man pulling on his penis

      So, the moral of the story? Misspell something in google and get relevant data. Do that to Cuil and you get a penis.

  • by JoeCommodore ( 567479 ) <> on Thursday July 31, 2008 @09:20AM (#24415323) Homepage

    I think there will be a pop.

    Have you tried it? Part of the draw may be the speed and the images next to the search results, but realistically, not really the best results, and the pictures that come up on the results are stock photos - not any relation to the site content at all. (if you have your own domain, search for it and see what I am talking about)

    • Next, they will sit some users, tell them it's some "sahara" project, and film them saying "At last good search engine. What, it's still old cuil engine? Wow, looks I was wrong."
  • If it were former HotBot engineers that were doing this would this be such a big deal? Probably not.. It's the Google association that is generating all the media. IMHO, Cuil is having it's 15 minutes.

    It does make you wonder though if the Google lovefest is over. Now that they are a publicly traded company their only obligation is to their shareholders and as a publicly traded company they should probably change their motto to "We do less evil than everyone else".

    Makes you wonder if all the attention
    • I wouldn't say that people are turning on Google as much as Google has just stopped being all that interesting. Many people are of the opinion that their search has become increasingly less useful as of late as the spammers have become better at gaming their ranking system. But even if that's not actually true, at the end of the day, it's primarily just a search engine, which is important, but not particularly glamorous.

      People still use it, but it's not like it's a fun game or something, it's just a tool.

  • by gravyface ( 592485 ) on Thursday July 31, 2008 @09:20AM (#24415341)

    It sounds expensive, but if there's 10 employees, that VC funding could last years.

    Google set a precedent for perks, so it's only natural that companies are going to try to repeat that success for recruiting purposes alone.

  • Is this unusual? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PackMan97 ( 244419 ) on Thursday July 31, 2008 @09:21AM (#24415345) Homepage
    There are a ton of companies out there that offer free snackies, gyms, on-site doctors, etc. For the most part they are prudent financial decisions. free snacks: the cost is VERY minimal compared to the good will generated and assuming it's stocked internally, you don't have to allow an outside vendor in to stock machines improving your security. gyms: healthy employees cost less to insure. healthy employees miss less work. healthy employees are more attractive and will lead to improved workplace chemistry. healthy employees impress customers. on-site doc: employees only need to take 30m off work to see the doc instead of having to get in a car, drive to their doc, wait, wait, wait, see doc, drive back to work which is 2 hrs minimum. so, while a lot of these really seem excessive, they aren't.
    • Re:Is this unusual? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Inda ( 580031 ) <> on Thursday July 31, 2008 @09:48AM (#24415709) Journal

      Not unusual, no. Mine you, I've only been working in this company 10 years...

      Lunch is ordered in every single day.

      We have a subsidised restaurant and sandwich bar. The coffee bars take the piss out of Starbucks.

      Huge fridges burst with snacks and drinks.

      Free coffee and soft drinks from machines in each corner of each floor in each building.

      Bowls of strawberries and muffins lie around the rest area.

      Um, stale sandwiches and fruit left over from long meetings..?

      The company pays for a personal trainer and gym membership for everyone.

      Fully stocked gym, several trainers, but only one working at a time, one physiotherapist. Open 24/7. Treatment room looks well equipped although I've never needed to used it.

      A doctor calls round each Friday, after the weekly barbeque, to see if everyone's in good health.

      Doctor is in his office 5 times a week. Two nurses are always there.

      Employees drift in an out at times that suit themselves.

      90% of us are on personal contracts. I'm supposed to do 37 hours a week, I'll only do 35 this week though as I want to go home early on Friday. Do my work and everyone's happy. We refuse to talk about people being 30 minutes late in the mornings - it's not productive. If anything, we'll complain when others are coming in at 8am and not going home until 8pm. People working long hours is not productive, it creates a bad atmosphere, if there's work for two people, employ a second person.

      This is a massive company in the UK. My site alone employs 2,000 people.

      • That's unusual! (Score:3, Informative)

        by KNicolson ( 147698 )

        We have a subsidised restaurant and sandwich bar. The coffee bars take the piss out of Starbucks.

        We have a subsidised restaurant, if you like sub-school dinner fare. Coffee is just piss.

        Free coffee and soft drinks from machines in each corner of each floor in each building.

        There's a water filter that's rather unhygenic even after boiling. We get one free drink and a snack (rice cracker, if you're lucky) once a month.

        Um, stale sandwiches and fruit left over from long meetings..?

        Occassional left-over fo

  • ..and? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by RMH101 ( 636144 ) on Thursday July 31, 2008 @09:23AM (#24415357)
    Single post, now retracted on someone's blog.
    Plus, how much does a bowl of strawberries cost?
    Buy lunch in? Perhaps it works out cheaper than maintaining a kitchen and staff. This is a non-story.

    The cynic in me also thinks that maybe Cuil want people to think they're young, confident and worth investing in.
    Their search engine seems pretty average at best from what I've seen so far, yet strangely they're getting lots of media coverage. Is this "story" part of that?

  • by MMC Monster ( 602931 ) on Thursday July 31, 2008 @09:24AM (#24415365)

    Be on the front page of /. every week, boosting their add impressions.

    • by Otter ( 3800 )
      In all seriousness, they've done a terrific job of getting themselves free publicity. Unfortunately, it seems like they've done it at least a year too early and are only attracting lots of attention to a not-really-useful site. (What used to be known as "Good advertising kills a bad product" and is now referred to as "Remember Marimba?"
  • by radarjd ( 931774 ) on Thursday July 31, 2008 @09:25AM (#24415389)
    Perhaps the headline should be "Cuil Proves that VCs are Still Vulnerable to Hype"?
  • You eat too many muffins!!!

  • good idea: new search engine

    bad idea: search engine is called "cool" but they don't have

    good idea: free strawberries, etc. around the office.

    bad idea: employees can come and go whenever they feel like it.

    Good idea: 25 million in VC money.

    Bad idea: spending most of your VC money on something other than the product that got you the VC money (i.e. strawberries, etc).

  • Whatever. (Score:5, Informative)

    by MrMacman2u ( 831102 ) on Thursday July 31, 2008 @09:30AM (#24415479) Journal
    Cuil Sucks. Seriously, it sucks real hard.

    I liked their privacy policy and thought their approach to searh results was unique and fresh, it just needed a bit of getting used to.

    So, I have tried using it in place of Google since it was announced.

    I gave up today in shear frustration.

    Take me home Google! I missed you so!
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by hobbit ( 5915 )

      I gave up today in shear frustration.

      That might be what your problem is: it's not supposed to be yielding wool.

  • by tetrahedrassface ( 675645 ) on Thursday July 31, 2008 @09:32AM (#24415503) Journal
    Not sure if there is bubble but one thing I did learn about during the Cuil-crash-and-burn-at-launch fiasco was a new search technology out of Cambridge that is in beta right now. It is named true knowledge, and uses natural language strings for search, and wiki style user submitted knowledge base in conjunction with a standard search engine []. It is pretty neat and promising search technology that I found searching after looking that the shorcomings of Cuil. I highly recommend getting a beta account at true knowledge if you are interested in improving search results in a fine grained approach.
  • I have never heard of Cuil until this article. I'm a little impressed with the depth of their search, as I did a quick test of searching for old screen names and found some old stuff, and some unexpected stuff (like being mentioned outside of the site I registered for).

    However, their results display screen sucks ass. Their 4x3 grid is annoying, especially given the size of each result. Clicking on Preferences completely failed to correct this. I was hoping for "Grid view" vs "List view", but I guess a list
  • by imstanny ( 722685 ) on Thursday July 31, 2008 @09:36AM (#24415549)
    ...for financial institutions. I work at a Financial Firm in NYC, and we don't even have coffee makers in the kitchen! And they took away the vending machine. Bottled water has gone up from $12 for 2 cases to $16. I've been reduced to filling up my bottles at the sink, and shorting Google. If you're a Shadenfreude, you've enjoyed this post.
  • Not for long (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Alkonaut ( 604183 ) on Thursday July 31, 2008 @09:40AM (#24415609)

    Regardless of the cost of any perks they may enjoy there, a search engine company needs to have a search engine to live. To me, cuil appears to be a quick hack without the huge index it claims, and without a decent ranking algorithm.

    As an example, I did a search for my home town (a really tiny place, 1000 people or so). The top 10 google results included the towns unofficial homepage, a googlemap centered on the town, the wikipedia article for the town, a couple of weather sites with forecasts for the town and so on. All relevant, none repeated.

    The first page of cuil displayed *seven* "find hotels in $town" (believe me, there are no hotels) or "find single women in $town" (same story there...). A lot of these spam sites were even repeated five or six times among the first results. A japaneese version of a result was listed higher than the english version of the same result, and so on.

  • by KillerEggRoll ( 582521 ) on Thursday July 31, 2008 @09:40AM (#24415611)

    I just left a company (unfortunately) that had lunch catered daily, stocked drinks, had a heavily-used foosball table, and (un)officially had flex time among many other benefits. This company happens to be a market leader with no debt and VERY profitable revenue stream.

    The company was fortunate to have certain events happen at opportune times, but the benefits were needed to lure a skilled workforce into joining the team. Cuil will probably fall flat, but the "excesses" are warranted IMO.

    :-( If I didn't have to relocate, I would never have left.

  • Not for long... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Wiarumas ( 919682 )
    They are enjoying their perks.. sure... but meanwhile their resumes are probably already submitted to other companies. These guys are either the most optimistic crew in the world (to be confidently contesting Google with a subpar engine) or they are just enjoying their time while it lasts.
  • by aardwolf64 ( 160070 ) on Thursday July 31, 2008 @09:42AM (#24415639) Homepage

    Too bad their search engine sucks... I searched for: homepage, and my homepage wasn't in the results. Contrast that with Google, where my homepage is the #1 hit.

    • by Tim C ( 15259 )

      Actually, I just searched for aardwolf on and your homepage was the 23rd or so hit. Mind you, it wasn't in the first 10 pages of results on

      On the other hand, it's well known that part of google's algorithm depends on how well linked-to a page is, and yours is linked from every slashdot comment you make. That may well inflate your position in google's results.

    • I guess you meant "I searched for my homepage".
      But it gave me and idea for an experiment: search for the word "homepage".
      Google, the first 10: BBC, iGoogle (hehe), CNN, Wikipedia entry for "homepage", Opera, Microsoft, NASA, MPlayer (nice! :D), Ubuntu (thought so...) and Symantec.

      Same query on Cuil: none of the above. Something NASA/ESA, Uni of Oxford, WWE (wtf?), PhpWiki, GnuPlot...

      There's much room for improvement...

  • they put these stupid little images next to search results which have no relation to the result.

    my site is a gaming editorial site at the moment, and they put a stupid little picture of some little kids running on the beach next to it.


    cuil is not.

  • I've tried their "search" engine. I can get better and faster results from a printed telephone book. They may be made up of intelligent, educated people, but they need to get someone with brains on board to perform a complete rewrite of their search algorithms ASAP. I don't see their VC investors being too happy right now and in the near future they're going to be pissed.

    I'd like to see some stats to see if they are even getting any traffic now that people have seen how worthless their search results are

  • challenge google on its data retention and privacy policies and atttitude in foreign countries by contrasting sharply with them

    go zero retention, max privacy, and tell beijing "fuck you" on its authoritarian dictates

    in the meantime, with google's court efforts saying we don't really have privacy, and saying "i bend over" to beijing, the rewards you reap will be spectacular:

    1. you will earn tons of free advertising and pr in the press
    2. all us zealots here at slashdot will switch allegiance to you
    3. the aver

  • I am very underwhelmed by cuil. Most basic searches say they have a ton of results, but if you start to look there are duplicates from page to page.

  • Results not found. Searched a word in my domain quite common in Japanese.

    From Cuil
    7,735 results for yubi

    From google
    Results 395,000 for yubi

    I've used Google since went the way of the dodo.
  • Culi (Score:3, Informative)

    by Atin ( 1240078 ) * on Thursday July 31, 2008 @10:14AM (#24416143)
    It's important to note that while Cuil is a search engine, Culi [NSFW] is, well, not.
  • by dpbsmith ( 263124 ) on Thursday July 31, 2008 @10:21AM (#24416281) Homepage

    ...the proof is that they launched the site without anyone noticing that it basically doesn't work.

    Just one example, from a half-an-hour spent playing with it trying to find something, anything it did better than Google. There is a humongous auto dealership in the Pacific Northwest named Lithia Motors, so big it's listed on the NYSE, stock symbol LAD. If you do a Cuil search on Lithia Motors, the hits that come up on the first page include a Wikipedia article about Lithia Motors, a Reuters report, a news item about its expansion in Iowa, its rank among America's Most Admired companies... every darned thing.

    Every darn thing except: the website for Lithia Motors.

    Just guessing at the URL and typing "lithia" into the browser's address field works better than using Cuil.

    Shades of the bad old days when MBAs called the shots and didn't bother their pretty little heads over product details. Who cared about the product itself, when all that mattered was the pitch?

    I can just imagine the pitch for Cuil. Imagine a search engine that indexes more than Google, works better than Google, and is staffed by top-notch Google expatriates.

    What I can't imagine is why they unveiled it before it was working. "You only have one chance to make a first impression." They've managed to garner so much publicity that almost anyone potentially interested in it has given it a try... and the first impressions and word-of-mouth are so bad that IMHO if they ever do get it working, their only chance will be to relaunch under a different name.

  • by Slightly Askew ( 638918 ) on Thursday July 31, 2008 @10:35AM (#24416539) Journal

    I was searching for a preacher I read about in weird news who ran his motorcycle off stage during a sermon. [] []

    Cuil: No results were found for: Jeff Harlow preacher motorcycle

    Google: Every link on page one was about this incident.

    Enjoy the perks while they last, folks.

  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Thursday July 31, 2008 @11:08AM (#24417135) Homepage

    Cuil isn't overspending. I've been over there. They only have about 30 employees. They didn't overdo the server hardware, either.

    Bringing in lunch makes sense. They're on a quiet suburban street with only one modest, overcrowded restaurant nearby. Cuil is too small for a cafeteria. Bringing in food saves considerable staff time compared to sending everyone out for lunch.

    That's not the problem. The search results are the problem, of course.

Logic is the chastity belt of the mind!