Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Cuil for the Caucasus? A quick test!

As many of you may have heard, this week saw the launch of a competitor to Google. Cuil, which apparently is an old Irish word for knowledge, has been set up by several former Googlists and promises a search that's more oriented on content, and says it can do a more comprehensive job in the ever-expanding worldwide web.

So if it's supposed to find rare and out of the way things, how does it do for the Caucasus? We did a quick self test. For Caucasus and data, it does indeed return us on the very top, or at least in the first line, and it's a nice interface, as you can see. However, it also shows choices that are at least somewhat eccentric.

We get a somewhat similar picture for caucasus research, but again it seems to favor our Armenian website. The Georgian or Azerbaijani office are not immediately in sight.

The preference for Armenia is a little odd, since our English language websites in the three countries are practically identical (and similar to the regional site, too).

What does it do for Caucasus and social science? Note we did not put the words in quotation marks, so it's a free search term.

There is some irony in this conclusion, but we don't think it's entirely fair.

And can it help with more specialized requests? We queried CRRC's own Survey Director, Tina(tin) Zurabishvili. Here you see a comparison of Google and Cuil.

Cuil gets it, but again takes us to Armenia. It also throws in a lot of chaff on Salome Zurabishvili, or Tinatin Khidasheli, two Georgian opposition figures. So Google still seems ahead here. As far as we're concerned, Cuil is an interesting additional tool if Google doesn't find what you're looking for, but not yet a serious alternative for internet research on the Caucasus.


Onnik Krikorian said...

What do you make of the new Web 2.0 search engines such as and ?

Vladimer Shioshvili said...

Hans, it seems you got luckier than I did with cuil. Many searches I tried turned out quite fruitless. Even just for my surname (which I can proudly say that 8 out of 10 articles on the first page are related to me, other two to Tamara Shioshvili, who you might know, or have heard of), I got odd results.

I don't know if you have been following, but there are two different offenses which is turning cuil into a one word joke: word cuil has nothing to do with knowledge, and is a deformed version of cuill, which is plural of hazel, also the very first day they had porn intermingled with search results. They claimed that their server could not handle the load...

Gohar said...

I am not impressed with Cuil either. It does not even have advanced search, who are they kidding?