When Cuil (pronounced “cool”) was launched on July 28, 2008, there was a lot of optimism for what this new up-start search engine could do. In fact, the optimism was so grandiose that some labeled Cuil a “Google-killing” search engine.
With that much fanfare around the company, I thought it would be interesting to see what they are up to now. They went out of business on September 17, 2010. Gone. Done. Google, reportedly, is doing fine.
PowerSet, another engine that was labeled as a “Google killer,” and had hoped to out-smart Google? Purchased by Microsoft on July 1, 2008.
The reason why they failed is that both engines tried to solve problems that were not really problems. PowerSet claimed to be a “natural language” search engine — meaning you could type in questions instead keywords. But from my testing in the past noted, Google had no issues with natural language searches and handled them as easily as keyword-based searches.
Culi offered long descriptions about web pages in their search results. Looking at the masses of people that use Google, no one must have issues with the two sentence descriptions they offer.
The dilemma faced here were the layers of hyperbole on top of hype over a new product that didn’t solve anything or create a better experience. A valuable lesson for any brand.