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To Lose Your “Cuil” 20 Seconds After Launch

The hype cycle now lasts less than a day. Take yesterday’s over-hyped launch of stealth search startup Cuil, which was quickly followed by a backlash when everyone realized that it was selling a bill of goods. This was entirely the company’s own fault. It pre-briefed every blogger and tech journalist on the planet, but didn’t allow anyone to actually test the search engine before the launch.

The company’s founders have a good pedigree, and have developed a unique way to index the Web cheaply and at massive scale. But creating a big index is only half the battle. A good search engine has to bring back the best results from that haystack as well, here Cuil falls short.

The story quickly turned from Google-killer to Google’s lunch (make that an amuse bouche). The results Cuil returns aren’t particularly great, and sometimes completely off the mark. For instance, a search for “Cuil” doesn’t even bring up a link to itself on the first page of results.

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