Today in history: Happy 1st birthday Cuil

It's been a year since Cuil launched, and so far Google is still around...

Cuil logo

A year ago today, Cuil hit the web.

With ex-Google staff and claims that it indexed three times as much of the web as the leading search engine, pundits eagerly suggested the Irish-named search engine would take down Google.

It hardly seems sporting to mock in hindsight, especially on its birthday, but Cuil hasn't made much of a dent in market share, leaving Yahoo and Microsoft's newly-launched Bing to compete for second.

Privately-funded Cuil doesn't seem too worried about how many users it's drawing a year on, even though the best its managed is one per cent of the market. By February, it was down to just 130,000 users a month, but Cuil has apparently said that's been doubling every month since then.

Co-founder Tom Costello told us last year that it's going to take time. "Even when you see Google built to the kind of dominant position they have - it took them 10 years to build to that position. Search is not a business where you have overnight success. It's not a business where you change the behaviour of billions of people worldwide who use search overnight."

But time, and cash, is on his side, he added - despite rumours the company might be spending a bit too carelessly. "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."

What now?

A report in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Technology Review has suggested Cuil is planning a comeback by trying to be the first search engine to look inside social networks.

"We are trying to leverage the information found on users social networks to enhance search results. This is similar to what Amazon or eBay already does: 'People who bought this book, also liked this one'," Cuil's vice president of finance Seval Oz Ozveren told the publication.

Sounds cool (sorry, we couldn't help it) but only time will tell if it will be enough to make sure Cuil has a second birthday.

Click here to read how Cuil fits into the history of search engines.

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