There have been a number of startups that have launched with Google in its sites and most have failed miserably as it is very much like the story of David and Goliath. But I love to see the competitive spirited startup that is up to taking on the challenge. Cuil, pronounced "cool," launched today looking to take the Google challenge. I took a look at the new search service and reported my findings in this article.
The most glaring difference between the Google and Cuil homepage is as simple as black and white as the background colors of the two search sites are white and black respectively. Cuil also puts a new look on search results by offering a two or three column layout with items coupled with thumbnail images. Unfortunately, the images that are returned can sometimes be associated with items that they might not have anything to do with. For example, I searched for my name "Frank Gruber" and the first items returned was the Frank Gruber Wikipedia page which references the Minnesota 1904 born novelist. But this same Wikipedia entry showed off a thumbnail of the Somewhat Frank logo which does not have anything to do with the Wikipedia entry since the logo does not even appear in the Wikipedia entry. This is misleading and to be totally frank could be bad for a personal brand as it inaccurately associates a logo to a page (see the screen-shot below). The rest of the thumbnails also are images mostly headshots of me but are not directly associated with the items they are positioned next to. Ouch! This hurts.
Cuil also offers drilldowns for related search results which makes it easier to find additional items without searching again. Oh and if anyone wants to update the Frank Gruber Wikipedia entry to include my bio please feel free.
Overall, I am happy to see Cuil launch but it still has room for improvement. At least they are taking the Google challenge. I wish Cuil the best of luck in tweaking in search of the right stone to battle Goliath.