Apparently, a web robot calling itself Twiceler has, for reasons known only to itself, been visiting my tiny little corner of cyberspace several times an hour. It doesn’t really matter to me, I have the bandwidth to spare, and Dreamhost hasn’t started complaining yet, but I was kind of wondering, while sitting waiting for my next class to start, what the purpose of all these visits is.
After clicking a few links, I discovered that my friend Twiceler works for a brand new startup search engine called Cuil. According to the website:
…Cuil searches more pages on the Web than anyone
else–three times as many as Google and ten times as many as Microsoft…Rather than rely on superficial popularity metrics, Cuil searches for and ranks pages based on their content and relevance. When we find a page with your keywords, we stay on that page and analyze the rest of its content, its concepts, their inter-relationships and the page’s coherency. Then we offer you helpful choices and suggestions until you find the page you want and that you know is out there.
Wow! This sounds impressive! It could even, perhaps, be a google killer! As a journalist, though, I have to evaluate this for myself. Is Cuil really as wonderful as it says?
According to my traffic logs, Cuil must have indexed most of my recent posts, at least. I mean, it has visited 123 times in the last 2 days. So I have some perfect data to test Cuil on for accuracy. Let’s start by trying to find out information about the Victor ReaderStream birthday party coming up on Saturday. I posted about this a while ago, so surely it’s indexed. A search on cuil for victor stream birthday not only returns no results about the online party, it doesn’t even have anything about the Victor Reader! The exact same search on google, however, has an advertisement for the Victor product, the ACB birthday party from last year, and the birthday party we’re discussing this year, all on the front page! It’d be hard to do better than that, unless they linked to the Humanware press release directly from the Humanware website, rather than the version I posted.
But maybe that was too difficult for Cuil. Maybe it’s just not good with recent events; it probably takes several months to do all that website analyzing they keep going on about. Let’s try a search for a tiny internet radio network that’s been around for three years now, called The Beyond Radio Network, and see what information we can find. A search for the beyond radio network on Cuil does find the tbrn.net homepage as the first link. However, of the rest of that first page, over half of the links lead to 404 pages! What on earth? Let me repeat that. Half of the links on the first page of results go to 404 pages! How long has it been since Google sent you to a 404 page? It never happens! Not even when searching for the beyond radio network.
I just have no words. A search engine that sends people to 404 pages, and can’t present the right information for even the most narrow search, is visiting my blog several times daily. Why? I’m starting to suspect that the more often a search engine visits my blog, the worse it is. I mean, I’m also amused to note that, according to statpress, 100% of all search traffic to my blog comes from Windows Live Search. Windows Live Search? What the heck?