"Cuil has indexed a whopping 120 billion Web pages, three times more than what they say Google now indexes, Patterson said, adding the company has spent just $5 million, Google itself preemptively responded to Cuil's arrival with a blog post on Friday boasting of the growing scale of its own Web search operations."
Cuil (pronounced [kuːl], "cool") is a search engine that organizes web pages by content and displays relatively long entries along with thumbnail pictures for many results. It claims to have a larger index than any other search engine, with about 120 billion web pages. It went live on July 28, 2008.
Cuil is managed and developed largely by former employees of Google: Anna Patterson, Russell Power and Louis Monier. The CEO and co-founder, Tom Costello, has worked for IBM and others. The company raised $33 million from venture capital firms including Greylock.
The Irish ancestry of Anna Patterson's husband Tom Costello sparked the name Cuil, which the company states is taken from a series of Celtic folklore stories involving a character called Finn McCuill. The company says that Cuil is Irish (Gaelic) for knowledge and hazel.
Some linguists are unsure of this derivation and pronunciation, and note that the modern Irish word for hazel is spelled coll (coill or cuill in genitive form, the former spelling having superseded the latter as a result of the Caighdeán Oifigiúil reforms of the mid-twentieth century).
The company name had previously been spelled Cuill, with two "L"s.
Cuil's launch received widely critical press coverage. Concerns were expressed about the website's slow response times, irrelevant or wrong search results and in at least one case, inappropriately pornographic images were displayed alongside search results. Danny Sullivan of Search Engine Watch questioned the validity of Cuil's claim that it had the world's largest search engine index and criticized it for focusing on size rather than relevance.
While other Web 2.0 launches using massively parallel processing might fail with a slow down or crash, Cuil's architecture was responding with incomplete, "less-than-relevant results that then appear at the top of users' pages." Cuil's VP of communications Vince Sollitto said the search engine was experiencing heavy first-day overloads and they were "busy putting out fires." Sollitto said Cuil "will only improve with time. It's day one. Traffic is massive. We're new. There are bugs to fix, results to improve."