Wow. A lot of things happened since this post. First, I’m no longer married. And second, Cuil is dead. Finally went off line at some point in September or October 2010. I didn’t even notice.
My wife IM’d me today and says, “did you hear about the new Google?”. Seriously. So Cuil is making the rounds in a big way today, with a flare gun. I’ve been finding posts on mainstream sites like CNN, and even MSN (Pulitzer would be proud!), it’s one hell of a launch when the headline is Ex-Googlers launch Cuil. With a 120 billion page index out of the gate, Cuil (pronounced ‘cool’) is really risking something with this huge grand scale ‘first impression’. So far, it doesn’t look like the gamble is paying off in the search blogosphere. Reviews have been poor to lukewarm (my favorite so far being over at Search Engine Land).
I found some bugs. Not sure if it was due to an influx of new traffic, but a lot of searches didn’t resolve around 11:30am (eastern). The “About Cuil” link didn’t work, either, but is restored now.
Also, for having more indexed pages than Google, I found it very thin in variety. In a blended search world, I appreciate this engines layout, but it really does lack media blending. Pages that seemed to rank well for their ‘relevancy’, as is the selling-point of this engine, didn’t seem to be all that relevant. I do very much like the Explore By Category feature, and look forward to that improving (it was my favorite feature of the SearchMe.com engine, but I’m not sure Cuil is quite as diverse here).
As SEO takes the (long) corner, and the web matures, there’s always going to be a need for reshaping. SEO has a funky name in some circles, mostly from those who lump all the bad in with the good. To me, the things that really stood out about SEO were the connections it could make to people who are specifically looking for connections, and the idea of actually helping engines be more, well, human. Humans helping robots helping humans. It’s not as noble as DMOZ or Mahalo, but stands to work much, much better.
So last year, as SEO 2.0 started to make some noise, and the basic concepts started to bubble up, I was hooked. I took it to my agency. I define my consulting around it. I adore sites like seo2.0.onreact.com (who in true SEO 2.0 spirit are bringing the SEO community together with requests for definitions) who work at getting this new philosophy out into the SEO space. Maybe one day fewer people will look at SEO less as spamming, or a ‘throw darts at a map’ tactic, and more as an actual attempt to improve user value legitimately, and bringing to life the legend of storybook search engine goals.
With the surprise news that Adobe hooked Google and Yahoo up with a special reader for the spiders (which allows the engines to parse the .swf files and index/follow deeper content), does that mean the SEO’s PE special weapon can be abandoned?
I’m still going to stick with it for a while for my SEO blog and my clients’ sites. Google is adopting the reader first, and has technically been lightly reading some flash files already, but anyone who’s been in the game long enough knows that a lot of these properties launch with half-powered products all the time. Their track record isn’t stellar, so why not a ‘better safe than sorry’ approach? I don’t think I would consider dropping PE until at least a few more months after MSN jumps aboard. I’m not sure I would cease building products for the PE method (depending on the cost vs. value), and simple on-page coding is so easy – it seems like a no-brainer.
What about the other engines that will never be this advanced? Do you care about them? In preperation for vertical and social searching, I think it’s wise to consider what they could become. I think this news is going to spark a huge influx of flash sites, but I’m thinking this still seems like a bad idea.