Cuil Launches, Crashes, Recovers

The new search engine Cuil launched last night and crashed shortly afterward. It's back up now.

The hot link of the morning in the blogosphere is Cuil, a search engine developed by Google alumni that launched last night. Shortly after launch, the site was offline. "Due to overwhelming interest, our Cuil servers are running a bit hot right now. The search engine is momentarily unavailable as we add more capacity." They were back up before long. The new search engine is hosted at Layer 42, a colocation provider in Santa Clara.

The launch-then-crash pattern has become common for hot startups, which are quickly hit by the TechCrunch Effect. Perhaps it's become a badge of honor ("We're so hot we crashed the server!") or sites are deciding not to optimize their scalability for the first 15 minutes of a post-launch blogstorm. The brief outage doesn't seem to have slowed interest in Cuil (pronounced "cool").

A bigger challenge may be Cuil's search relevancy, which doesn't appear likely to alter the current search engine status quo. The results from a Cuil search on our favorite term (data center) are not very relevant. The first page of results is dominated by information sites about astronomy, earthquakes and weather, with a couple of colo providers near the bottom. Check out other opinions at GigaOm, TechCrunch and especially Danny Sullivan's take at Search Engine Land.

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