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+ Cuil Search Engine

The Internet has grown exponentially in the last fifteen years but search engines have not kept up—until now. 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. We believe that analyzing the Web rather than our users is a more useful approach, so we don’t collect data about you and your habits, lest we are tempted to peek. With Cuil, your search history is always private.

Cuil is an old Irish word for knowledge. For knowledge, ask Cuil.

A Message from the founders

A quick look back at launch…


Wow. That was intense. Looking back at the first 48 hours since launch, it was quite an experience. After a lot of hard work, we were thrilled to begin offering our new approach to search. We were even more thrilled with the interest, and traffic, we received.

In fact, it was overwhelming—literally. While we had planned for a large number of searches on our first day, we hadn’t planned on more than 50 million. After all, that’s in the same ballpark as Microsoft’s Live Search and approaching Yahoo!. And they have a bit more infrastructure than our small start-up.

So for a good part of the first day, the traffic volume simply outstripped our ability to respond. Some machines failed. Some bugs were found. Some of our redundancies…weren’t so redundant. This meant some searches didn’t get the best results. Some didn’t get any.

And yet, for a lot of searches, Cuil did provide users with new results, different from the ones folks have gotten in the past, according to the reports we’ve received. This is one of our goals—to give people an alternative to existing approaches.

Thank you very much for the feedback. The emails we’ve gotten at moc.liuc|kcabdeef#moc.liuc|kcabdeef have been very helpful, telling us areas you enjoy—such as the layout and the search by category feature—and areas where we need to improve—image matching, for example. We read them, so please keep them coming.

At Cuil, we are tackling some of the big challenges in search, from finding ways to search more of the Web, to finding results by analyzing the content on a page, to providing images with our results to help you pick the page you want. These are difficult problems, and we know we have more work to do.

We are incredibly proud of what this small team of 30 employees has been able to build from scratch already, and we are committed to improving Cuil every day. Thank you for trying us out.

Tom, Anna and Russell

The Cuil Philosophy

The Internet is getting bigger and more disorganized every day. Cuil’s goal is to solve the two great problems of search: how to index the whole Internet—not just part of it—and how to analyze and sort out its pages so you get relevant results.

Cuil’s founders worked with other search engines and knew that tinkering with old systems wouldn’t work. A fundamentally different approach was needed. So we’ve developed new architecture and algorithms that can handle the exponential growth of the Internet and organize results that reflect its enormous complexity.

Cuil believes that:
Size matters

Size matters because many people use the Internet to find information that is of interest to them, even if it’s not popular. Existing technology can’t keep up with the increasing volume of Web pages. If a search engine is incapable of indexing the Internet properly how can it hope to provide accurate search results? Imagine if the phone company decided to stop listing infrequently called numbers in the phone book. Maybe no one phones your grandmother much, but if her friend from the old neighborhood wants to get in touch, shouldn’t her number be in the book? Cuil lists all the numbers, even the ones that aren’t called much. Because one day someone will need that number.
Popularity is useful, but not always important

Popularity is useful, but has dominated search results so heavily that it gets harder and harder to find the page you want, especially if your search is a complex one. Cuil respects popular pages and recognizes that for many simple searches, popularity is an easy answer to your question. But for a deeper search, establishing relevancy is more than a numbers game. Cuil prefers to find all the pages with your keyword or phrase and then analyze the rest of the content on those pages. During this analysis we discover that your keywords have different meanings in different contexts. Once we’ve established the context of the pages, we’re in a much better position to help you in your search.
Organization is fundamental

The Internet is information; usually too much. Ten blue links is a simple concept which fails to reflect the huge diversity and variety of information available to you on the Web. Cuil organizes the Internet so you can find the information you want. We separate different ideas from each other so you can choose the one that interests you. We pick images to illustrate the idea behind each page to aid you in your choice. We include roll-over definitions and offer you ideas to refine your search. We can do all this because we believe that information is only useful when it’s sorted. Cuil’s goal is to guide you towards answers to the questions you’re not even sure how to ask.
Cuil analyzes the Web, not its users

Privacy is a hot topic these days, and we want you to feel totally comfortable using our service. Because Cuil analyzes Web pages and not click-throughs, we don’t need to know your search history and habits. So our privacy policy is very simple: when you search with Cuil, we do not collect any personally identifiable information, period. We have no idea who sends queries: not by name, not by IP address, and not by cookie. Your search history is your business, not ours. We don’t need to keep logs of our users’ search activity, so we don’t. For further details, read our Privacy Policy. Don’t worry, it’s short and to the point. No legal mumbo-jumbo.

Cuil Features



After you perform a search, you may see a panel on the right-hand side that says “Explore By Category” with a list of subjects related to your search. If you roll-over a category, it will open and show refinements related to your search. If you click on one, Cuil will direct you to this additional information. By looking at these suggestions, you may discover search data, concepts, or related areas of interest that you hadn’t expected. This is particularly useful when you are researching a subject you don’t know much about and aren’t sure how to compose the “right” query to find the information you need.
Roll-over definitions

When you pause on a subject suggested by “Explore By Category,” a definition of that term may appear. This gives you additional information to help you decide whether or not to click on that term and so save you some time.



Cuil helps you to search by offering you other choices and suggestions. Cuil will show you “Tabs” that suggest ways to clarify your search. For example, if you search for “Jaguar,” there are a number of things you could be searching for, like Jaguar cars, Jaguar cats, a football team called the Jaguars, etc. Just click on the tab that reflects your interest and Cuil will narrow your search appropriately.
Search Term Suggestions


Navigation suggestion

When you type a query, sometimes you'll see a search suggestion with an icon representing a website. Click on this link and you will go directly to that website. We let you look before you leap, because not everyone feels lucky.

Cuil FAQs

1. How does Cuil improve search results?

Cuil’s goals are to index the whole Web, to analyze deeply its pages and to organize results in a rich and helpful way that allows you to explore fully the subject of your search.

So we started from scratch—with a fresh approach, an entirely new architecture and breakthrough algorithms.

Our approach is to focus on the content of a page and then present a set of results that has both depth and breadth.

Our aim is to give you a wider range of more detailed results and the opportunity to explore more fully the different ideas behind your search. We think this approach is more useful to you than a simple list.

So Cuil searches the Web for pages with your keywords and then we analyze the rest of the text on those pages. This tells us that the same word has several different meanings in different contexts. Are you looking for jaguar the cat, the car or the operating system?

We sort out all those different contexts so that you don’t have to waste time rephrasing your query when you get the wrong result.

Different ideas are separated into tabs; we add images and roll-over definitions for each page and then make suggestions as to how you might refine your search. We use columns so you can see more results on one page.

We think that if you are interested in content rather than popularity, you’ll find our approach more useful.
2. I want to use Cuil as my default search engine. Do you provide a search plugin?

You can install Cuil as your default search engine in Firefox, Internet Explorer 7, Opera 9 and some other browsers. See these guides to install the plugin for Firefox, Internet Explorer and Opera.

You can also set Cuil as your homepage. If you use Firefox, grab the little globe icon beside Cuil’s address in your browser and just drop it onto the house image on your toolbar.

For Internet Explorer, click on the arrow beside the house and then "add or change home page". Select "use this webpage as your only home page" and click Yes.

If you use Safari, edit your “Preferences” from the “Safari” menu.
3. What information do you keep about me?

None. We analyze the Web, not our users. Read our Privacy Policy for details. It’s short.
4. What does the name Cuil mean?

Tom Costello, our founder and CEO, comes from Ireland, a country with a rich mythology around the quest for wisdom. Cuil is the Gaelic word for both knowledge and hazel, and features prominently in ancient legend. One famous story tells of a salmon that ate nine hazelnuts that had fallen into the Fountain of Wisdom and thereby gained all the knowledge in the world. Whoever ate the salmon would acquire this knowledge.

A famous poet fished for many years on the River Boyne hoping to catch the Salmon of Knowledge. When he finally caught it, he gave it to his young apprentice Finn McCuil to prepare, warning him not to eat any. As Finn cooked the salmon he burnt his thumb and instinctively sucked it to ease the pain. And so it was Finn and not the poet who gained all the wisdom of the world. Finn went on to become one of the great heroes of Irish folklore. Any time he needed to know the answer to a question, he sucked his thumb.

As a child Tom poached salmon from the same spot on the Boyne where it is said the Salmon of Knowledge was caught.
5. What is Twiceler?

Twiceler is our Web crawler. Webmasters should go here for more information.
6. What extra features does Cuil provide?

Please visit our Features section so that you can learn more about the ways Cuil can help your search.
7. You have images beside your results. How do you pick which pictures to use?

We know from our research that people can make better and quicker decisions about relevance and quality when they can see an image from the website. We do our best to take images from Web pages that accurately reflect the content of the website. Many websites are full of images, so we use advanced algorithms to determine the best image to show the user.
8. Why do you display search results in columns?

It’s easier to read text when it’s in columns. That’s why publishers of densely written text like newspapers and family bibles use them. You can switch between using two and three columns by clicking on the link at the bottom of the results page.
9. The extra pages you index are really useful. Why don’t other search engines index them?

Some people argue that many pages on the Internet are spam or porn. It’s true that during our Web crawl we have found and filtered those kinds of pages, but we’ve discovered that the number of them is quite small. It’s just that the makers of those pages use techniques to push them forward. We’ve also found quite a number of duplicate pages that we didn’t include in our index. So far, we have crawled 186 billion pages and have included 120 billion in our index. We continually index more pages.

We’ve found that a lot of Web pages have been designed with a small audience in mind—perhaps they are blogs or academic papers with specific interests or pages with family photos. We think that even though these pages aren’t necessarily for a wide audience, they contain content that one day you might need.

Our job is to index all these pages and examine their content for relevancy to your search. If they contain information you need, then they should be available to you.
10. Cuil’s features mean that children can explore more pages and information on the Web. Have you any features that will protect them from inappropriate content?

Features like our category suggestions are a great way to encourage children to explore a subject on the Web. To protect them from adult oriented content we have added our Safe Search feature.

The first time you go to Cuil you will see that Safe Search is ON by default; you can double check by looking at the Safe Search indicator on the upper right hand corner directly below the Cuil logo . When Safe Search is on, Cuil filters out adult oriented search results, so adult oriented images and/or text should not be displayed. We can’t guarantee that adult content will not be displayed even when Safe Search is on; so we recommend that you always supervise your child when using an Internet connected computer, no matter what website they’re using.
11. Are you hiring?

Yes. Contact us here.
12. Is Cuil a publicly traded company with stock for sale?

No. Cuil is a private company, with funding from these investors.
Quick Links

1. How does Cuil improve search results?
2. I want to use Cuil as my default search engine. Do you provide a search plugin?
3. What information do you keep about me?
4. What does the name Cuil mean?
5. What is Twiceler?
6. What extra features does Cuil provide?
7. You have images beside your results. How do you pick which pictures to use?
8. Why do you display search results in columns?
9. The extra pages you index are really useful. Why don’t other search engines index them?
10. Cuil’s features mean that children can explore more pages and information on the Web. Have you any features that will protect them from inappropriate content?
11. Are you hiring?
12. Is Cuil a publicly traded company with stock for sale?

External Links

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