Google old boys launch their own engine in global search for wealth

Call it internet treachery if you like but three former senior engineers from the Google campus are trying to usurp the search-engine crown from their former employer by launching an alternative tool that they hope we may all one day use for scouring cyberspace content.

With $33m (£16.5m) in venture capital funds, Anne Patterson and two other Google alumni – Russell Power and Louis Monier – yesterday took the wraps off Their boast was brave if predictable: Cuil (pronounced "cool") will be easier and nicer to use and will have a longer reach.

To be more specific, the folk at – Ms Patterson's husband, Tom Costello, is also a founder – will have a search index spanning 120 billion web pages. If it's out there, Cuil will find it for you. No one will say what span Google boasts, but almost three years ago it stood at 8.2billion pages.

Cuil won't divulge the formula it has developed to cover a wider chunk of the internet with far fewer computers than Google. But rather than trying to mimic Google's method of ranking the quantity and quality of links to websites, Ms Patterson says Cuil's technology drills into the actual content of a page.

Its results are displayed with more photos spread horizontally across the page and include sidebars that can be clicked on to learn more about topics related to the original search request. Cuil is also hoping to attract traffic by promising not to retain information about its users' search histories or surfing patterns – something that Google does, much to the consternation of many privacy watchdogs.

Ms Patterson, who left Google back in 2006, claimed most surfers are ready for a new approach to content-searching. "Google has looked pretty much the same for 19 years now and I can guarantee it will look the same a year from now," she said.

Google itself did not appear overly concerned about Cuil's debut. "Having great competitors is a huge benefit to us and everyone in the search space," said a company spokesman. "It makes us all work harder, and at the end of the day our users benefit from that."

Lest anyone forget, Google does not have a monopoly on internet searches, or at least not quite. Recent data show the company commanding 62 per cent of the US market, compared to 21 per cent and 8.5 per cent respectively for its two largest rivals, Yahoo and Microsoft's MSN service. Nor is it by any means the first time that a new upstart company like Cuil has joined the fray. Other plucky pretenders include Teoma (which was adopted by, Vivisimo, Snap, Mahalo and Powerset. Cuil sets itself apart, however, by being created by ex-Google engineers.

As for its name, the company says it was inspired by the Irish roots of Mr Costello and specifically a Celtic folklore figure named Finn McCuill (or Finn McCool). They might want to rectify one early problem. A search on for information about the aforementioned Mr McCuill turned upprecisely nothing.

* The editor of the BBC’s Newsnight programme has resigned his position to join Google as head of PR for the UK. Peter Barron has spent 12 years at the BBC2 programme, as well as time at Channel 4 and with Tonight with Trevor McDonald

sportWWE latest including Sting vs Triple H, Brock Lesnar vs Roman Reigns and The Undertaker vs Bray Wyatt
Arts and Entertainment
Louis Theroux: By Reason of Insanity takes him behind the bars again
tvBy Reason of Insanity, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Cassetteboy's latest video is called Emperor's New Clothes rap
videoThe political parody genius duo strike again with new video
Arts and Entertainment
tvPoldark, TV review
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Recruitment Genius: Junior Web Designer - Client Liaison

    £6 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join a gro...

    Recruitment Genius: Service Delivery Manager

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Service Delivery Manager is required to join...

    Recruitment Genius: IT Infrastructure Engineer

    £30000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our client is looking to find a...

    Recruitment Genius: IT Engineer

    £21000 - £23600 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity to join...

    Day In a Page

    No postcode? No vote

    Floating voters

    How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
    Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

    By Reason of Insanity

    Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
    Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

    Power dressing is back

    But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
    Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

    Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

    Caves were re-opened to the public
    'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

    Vince Cable interview

    'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
    Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

    Promises, promises

    But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
    The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

    The death of a Gaza fisherman

    He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
    Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
    Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

    The only direction Zayn could go

    We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
    Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

    Spells like teen spirit

    A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
    Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
    Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

    Licence to offend in the land of the free

    Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
    From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

    From farm to fork in Cornwall

    One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
    Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

    Robert Parker interview

    The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
    Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

    Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

    We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor