There is a new search engine out there called cuil, created by engineers who left Google. It claims to search more webpages than Google and analyze the pages to create results (instead of basing search results on web user link preferences, like Google). It also has a different layout and design and a quirky "you might be interested in these searchs, too" box. And it advertises that it won't record any personal information about you (which Google does every time you search).

I tried searching for the term "cardiac arrhythmia" and then the term "critical care nursing" on both. In general, I would say that Google performed better. cuil's layout makes it easier to see every entry at a glance, but it isn't that big an advantage over scrolling since you have to read each entry anyhow. cuil's quirky box was useless. It also returned more business- and organization- related websites. For example, Wild Iris Medical Education came up on cuil's first page of "critical care nursing" results, whereas it was on the third page in Google. And there's a reason it's on the third page in Google, which is that "who cares" factor. cuil also returned a place where I can buy software for a PDA on the first page. When I search for critical care nursing, I want information about critical care nursing, not just places where I can spend more money.

The only interesting/useful advantage to cuil was that it returned information on British and European critical care nursing organizations that didn't show up on Google even after 5 pages of results. That makes me wonder if part of what's meant by (1) searching more pages and (2) analyzing page content instead of user links is that cuil tries to "level the playing field" with regard to the US dominance of world Internet usage.

The privacy issue is an advantage for cuil, too, but I don't see that it has much relevance to nursing--at least until your Google search for "how to cover up Heparin overdose" starts being admissible in civil actions.

For the time being, I'm going to stick with Google for most of my searching but I'll keep returning to cuil to see how it's doing, 'cause gosh don't they have a nice color scheme?

1 comment:

  1. Cuil is definitely going for it, but it's hard to imagine them doing anything but incremental changes to what Google's done. And even that would take years of effort. has taken a different tack. We have a full web index, but we change the results based on the surfing activity of our user base (now over 2,000,000). It's in alpha, but I'd be curious to hear your thoughts.