Cuil, yet another search engine, launched this morning – and then sank this afternoon.
Normally it is disingenuous to criticize people who suffer because of their success (i.e. servers going down from launch overload), but only when they innovate. Innovation means you have created something new, rather than copying, and that there will be unpredictable things that can only be fixed through trial and error.
Because Cuil is an attempt to build a better copy of a search engine, it should be judged on how well it does that, not on the novelty of the idea. People liked Google because it was fast, accurate and reliable, not because they had never seen a search engine.
Cuil is down, meaning that at this moment it is infinitely slow, unreliable and inaccurate. It has been backed with $33 million by people who have put greed before imagination, thinking that a Google beater = dollars, that a Google beater is a search engine and that people who have worked for Google are automatically better. This is the mentality that would back an MBA middle-management type over a visionary entrepreneur, a John Sculley over a Steve Jobs.
Google is threatening Microsoft’s access to dollars, not with desktop apps. or a desktop OS, but by owning an innovative product that became the desktop of the web – search. To get some of Google’s dollars requires developing something new and different that becomes the starting point for people on the web, Facebook is possibly something like that, Cuil is not.
Cuil say that they are pronounced cool. If you have to tell people you are, you’re probably not.