Q&A: Cuil co-founder Tom Costello

Three months after a much-hyped launch, search engine Cuil is still chasing Google as it looks to bring more innovation into online search.

Do you think you're at that point, where the search is good enough, or does Cuil still need work?

I think that we're definitely are not somebody to sit on our laurels. The reason we started the company is in order to push the bar forward and to do better things, we're really interested in trying to create and do different things. So I would hope that the next few years we'll be trying to create and trying to do something new.

There is of course risk whenever you try to do new things. Some of your ideas, people won't like but unless you try you're never going to find out what was or wasn't a good idea.

You say a few years. How long do you have investment for and wow long will you be able to keep at it without getting additional investment?

It turns out that one of the great things about search is that it's a very, very profitable business. Search traffic is extra valuable. Even with a very small, negligible market share, you can still easily be profitable. So we're in this for the long term.

If you look at Google, they're 10 years old. It took them a long time in order for them to become - I think it was eight or seven years - public.

It's a very easy business to make enough money to be self-sufficient. We're there to actually create better things. It's not a case where there's some milestone where we'll run out of money, because we're in something like a social network that's very, very hard to monetise.

Is there a point in the foreseeable future where we'll not be Googling everything? What will it take to topple them?

I think that there's no question that we're at the beginning of the information age. There's no question that we're going through immense change in the way we deal with information and Google has been very lucky for the last few years and I suppose they also been very good for the last few years in what they've done.

If you look back at the industrial revolution, the famous names at the very beginning of the industrial revolution, they're not the major brands today. I think you're always going to see huge change especially in something like information access, which really is the driver of the information age.

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