Cuil Launches, Crashes, Recovers

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

Rich Miller

July 28, 2008

1 Min Read
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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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