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Cuil Proves the Bubble Is Back

CmdrTaco posted more than 6 years ago | from the so-sick-of-it-already dept.

IT 496

MattSparkes writes "Cuil may only have launched this week, but it seems that they're already enjoying late-'90s boom-style comforts. 'Lunch is ordered in every single day. Huge fridges burst with snacks and drinks. Bowls of strawberries and muffins lie around the rest area. The company pays for a personal trainer and gym membership for everyone. A doctor calls round each Friday, after the weekly barbeque, to see if everyone's in good health. Employees drift in an out at times that suit themselves.' Seems like an awesome place to work, but how long will their $25 million VC funding last at this rate?"

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Cuil Proves Nothing (5, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 6 years ago | (#24415193)

Cuil Proves the Bubble Is Back

First of all, a single anecdote does not prove anything. If you included eBay's Skype deal or Google's YouTube deal ... wait, scratch that last one. See, there's constantly non-prudent business deals and every now and then you see a real whopper.

Lunch is ordered in every single day. Huge fridges burst with snacks and drinks. Bowls of strawberries and muffins lie around the rest area. The company pays for a personal trainer and gym membership for everyone. A doctor calls round each Friday, after the weekly barbecue, to see if everyone's in good health. Employees drift in an out at times that suit themselves.

Do you think that this is what caused the dot com bubble? Do you think the vast majority of people were living like this when it burst? I'm no economist but I thought that the problem wasn't with how the IT and Web Site companies were spending their money but rather what the customers they found were giving them money for--basically nothing. A few HTML pages? Not even worth my time to read?

$25 million in venture capital is nothing these days. Let them burn it. Yeah, we'll all be laughing a couple months from now when they're busting their asses to find some income--or maybe they are correct in thinking they are the next Google. Hell, Slashdot ran a story [slashdot.org] reporting them to index more than Google. With the kind of press they achieved, maybe they're right to live like royalty for a bit?

Does anyone look back on Google and say "They hired a massage artist? Proof the bubble is back!" No, because they thought they were going to be big and they were.

You want to prevent another bubble? Don't take a job where you're not sure how you or any of your coworkers draw revenue from real customers who in turn receive some service or product that makes complete sense. That's how you prevent a bubble. And unless you're part of the 1% calling the shots on how to spend money, you needn't worry about how other companies spend their money. This frivolous spending should just make it easier for Google to beat their bottom line and steal customers back. And if they can't, well then let Cuil rake large piles of capital together and set them afire to their heart's content.

The bubble is back! (1, Funny)

2.7182 (819680) | more than 6 years ago | (#24415221)

But if we are smart, we can still make money. I recommend selling short on Google now.

Re:The bubble is back! (4, Interesting)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 6 years ago | (#24415537)

But if we are smart, we can still make money. I recommend selling short on Google now.

I recommend not taking stock tips from /.

Unless of course enough of us get together and actually move the market in the direction we want.
But I suspect /.ers don't have that kinda cash on hand.

Re:The bubble is back! (5, Funny)

kalirion (728907) | more than 6 years ago | (#24415741)

But I suspect /.ers don't have that kinda cash on hand.

But they could easily get some. Not legally, but round off a few fractions of a penny to a bank account and if you get caught, the worst they would ever do is they would put you for a couple of months into a white-collar, minimum-security resort! Shit, we should be so lucky! Do you know, they have conjugal visits there?

Re:The bubble is back! (5, Funny)

iknowcss (937215) | more than 6 years ago | (#24415815)

I have a bad feeling that all of this is going to bring us to a conversation that involves the phrase "pound-me-in-the-ass prison"

Re:The bubble is back! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24415907)

It looks like it just did.

Re:The bubble is back! (2, Insightful)

PunkOfLinux (870955) | more than 6 years ago | (#24415833)

I dunno if it's really at that great at club fed... i mean, that spammer went *wacko* there...

What the hell is selling short, anyway?

Re:The bubble is back! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24415999)

Step 1: Sell short a stock you know is going down.
Step 2: ???
Step 3: Profit!

Re:Cuil Proves Nothing (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24415433)

Cuil Proves the Bubble Is Back

First of all, a single anecdote does not prove anything. If you included eBay's Skype deal or Google's YouTube deal ... wait, scratch that last one. See, there's constantly non-prudent business deals and every now and then you see a real whopper.

Lunch is ordered in every single day. Huge fridges burst with snacks and drinks. Bowls of strawberries and muffins lie around the rest area. The company pays for a personal trainer and gym membership for everyone. A doctor calls round each Friday, after the weekly barbecue, to see if everyone's in good health. Employees drift in an out at times that suit themselves.

Do you think that this is what caused the dot com bubble? Do you think the vast majority of people were living like this when it burst? I'm no economist but I thought that the problem wasn't with how the IT and Web Site companies were spending their money but rather what the customers they found were giving them money for--basically nothing. A few HTML pages? Not even worth my time to read? $25 million in venture capital is nothing these days. Let them burn it. Yeah, we'll all be laughing a couple months from now when they're busting their asses to find some income--or maybe they are correct in thinking they are the next Google. Hell, Slashdot ran a story [slashdot.org] reporting them to index more than Google. With the kind of press they achieved, maybe they're right to live like royalty for a bit? Does anyone look back on Google and say "They hired a massage artist? Proof the bubble is back!" No, because they thought they were going to be big and they were. You want to prevent another bubble? Don't take a job where you're not sure how you or any of your coworkers draw revenue from real customers who in turn receive some service or product that makes complete sense. That's how you prevent a bubble. And unless you're part of the 1% calling the shots on how to spend money, you needn't worry about how other companies spend their money. This frivolous spending should just make it easier for Google to beat their bottom line and steal customers back. And if they can't, well then let Cuil rake large piles of capital together and set them afire to their heart's content.

you are a real pro.

Re:Cuil Proves Nothing (5, Interesting)

tha_mink (518151) | more than 6 years ago | (#24415483)

I think that the bigger proof is that their product sucks ass. Go try and use it. I looked for "aes zip linux" and got 0 results. 0 results? Really? You index *more* than google and you can't find ONE reference to "aes zip linux"? I tried to use that thing, but it doesn't seem to enjoy providing me with any results. To me *that* is proof that they are a bubble company. Where's the beef?

Re:Cuil Proves Nothing (5, Funny)

swrona (594974) | more than 6 years ago | (#24415623)

I dont know what your problem is; CUIL returns 78,662,145 results for "beef". They don't seem to have trouble finding it. :)

Re:Cuil Proves Nothing (0, Troll)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | more than 6 years ago | (#24415687)

I think that the bigger proof is that their product sucks ass. Go try and use it. I looked for "aes zip linux" and got 0 results. 0 results? Really? You index *more* than google and you can't find ONE reference to "aes zip linux"? I tried to use that thing, but it doesn't seem to enjoy providing me with any results. To me *that* is proof that they are a bubble company. Where's the beef?

Erm... and google's results [google.com] are so much better? More timely, perhaps, but ... c'mon ;)

Re:Cuil Proves Nothing (5, Informative)

mikey_boy (125590) | more than 6 years ago | (#24415777)

yeah, the difference being that if you search without the quotes, google returns a shedload of results. Cuil still returns nothing:

cuil search [cuil.com]

google search [google.co.uk]

Re:Cuil Proves Nothing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24415785)

For google -- you get a lot more results if you delete the leading quote

Re:Cuil Proves Nothing (3, Informative)

Stormwatch (703920) | more than 6 years ago | (#24415827)

Erm... and google's results are so much better?

Yes, they are [google.com] -- if your search does not begin with a quotation mark, which means "look for this exact phrase".

Re:Cuil Proves Nothing (1)

jscheelmtsu (955511) | more than 6 years ago | (#24415887)

Erm... and google's results [google.com] are so much better? More timely, perhaps, but ... c'mon ;)

Not to point out the obvious, but your search is borked. Try removing the leading double-quote, then look at the number of search results.

Re:Cuil Proves Nothing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24415919)

While he did put quotes around the terms in his comment, I really doubt he meant them to translate into the query. Considering that, google returns 570,000 results to cuil's whopping 0.

Re:Cuil Proves Nothing (-1, Offtopic)

AMSRay (992267) | more than 6 years ago | (#24415991)

your "google's results" link has to be the most appropriate on-topic link I've ever seen in a /. comment. You have my respect.

Re:Cuil Proves Nothing (4, Informative)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 6 years ago | (#24415885)

I get "no results" for even common web searches, and bizarre mistakes even on the occasions when it DOES work (showing inappropriate pictures beside entries, shwoing results that have nothing to do with the search term, etc.). Their claims of being better than Google are not only laughable, but probably cross over into outright fraud. Anyone stupid enough to invest in such a company DESERVES their fucking. The whole thing reeks of con job.

Re:Cuil Proves Nothing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24415995)

You're right, google at least turned one result when searching for "aes zip linux".

  Results 1 - 1 of 1 for "aes zip linux". (0.08 seconds)
Slashdot | Cuil Proves the Bubble Is Back
I looked for "aes zip linux" and got 0 results. 0 results? Really? You index *more* than google and you can't find ONE reference to "aes zip linux"? ...
it.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=08/07/31/1242243&from=rss - 27 minutes ago - Similar pages

This proves that google is superior. At least it gets results.

Re:Cuil Proves Nothing (2, Interesting)

cronot (530669) | more than 6 years ago | (#24415593)

What 'tha_mink' said. Plus, their page design is too bloated, it takes too long to load the results page, compared to Google, with its simplistic design, that loads almost instantly. I've scrapped Cuil just for that.

Re:Cuil Proves Nothing (-1, Flamebait)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 6 years ago | (#24415613)

I don't care if some jackass buys a house he can't afford. I do care when that leads to bank failures government bailouts and a stagnant economy. Likewise, I don't care if some douchebag internet company has cool perks.

Re:Cuil Proves Nothing (1)

Zarf (5735) | more than 6 years ago | (#24415651)

You sir, walk softly and carry a big clue-bat.

Re:Cuil Proves Nothing (5, Informative)

JonnyDomestik (1190331) | more than 6 years ago | (#24415717)

Well I am an economist actually and while I don't think that anybody is saying that this sort of spending caused the bubble, they are symptomatic of the sort of investing that happens in a bubble. Of course, with the economy going the way it is, all this is pretty much moot since there is clearly not a lot of speculative investment going on.

Sure it does (3, Insightful)

DogDude (805747) | more than 6 years ago | (#24415759)

Of course it means something. It's attitude. The company is badly run because the management sees fit to waste tons of money before a single nickel is generated. It's bad management, plain and simple. The VC's, if they were smart, should be outraged.

Re:Cuil Proves Nothing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24415947)


$25 million in venture capital is nothing these days. Let them burn it. Yeah, we'll all be laughing a couple months from now when they're busting their asses to find some income--or maybe they are correct in thinking they are the next Google. Hell, Slashdot ran a story [slashdot.org] reporting them to index more than Google. With the kind of press they achieved, maybe they're right to live like royalty for a bit?

Go do a few searches and tell me if you think the volume of what is indexed is what matters..

The bits about free lunch and strawberries and stuff are funny, those kinds of thinks maybe represent the worst excesses of the Bubble but the Bubble was really about people taking VC cash, making out landish claims and completely failing to deliver. It's just symbolism.

After cranking out a couple of my test searches and seeing some absolutely mediocre results, my faith in their new super google killer is fading. So basically, we know that they took some VC, we know that they made a big PR run, we kind of know that the product isn't baked yet. Whether or not it ever will be? That's the question, then you hear about the perks at their office, hopefully those perks are there because their totally elite team of hackers (uh, well I hadn't heard the names of any really really good guys being hired there) is working 20 hours a day trying to put the polishing on.

Cuil proves nothing but they are in the act of proving that there are still suckers willing to buy dreams, even if they're being sold by folks with a resume full of failed attempts to make those dreams happen. Biggest indicator of all? If any of their staff had been successful at their last search efforts, they'd have funds and they'd know that they could self-fund and make astronomically more money than they ever will by taking VC to prototype their idea.

I'm not sure this is as good as it sounds (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24415215)

I know that many people will say that perks like these are only positives because they can only make people happier about their job, which is good for the employee and good for the employer as well.

I would like to suggest that it's not all roses in reality. I have worked at places where the employer provided lots of cushy perks and I found that it tends to attract a certain type of employee: the type who wants the job not because they like the work, but because they like the perks. In my experience this type of employee is not the best for the company; and what's worse, the general working environment tends to become antiproductive even for employees who otherwise would be more productive.

I have found that in Silicon Valley companies, there is almost a sense of pride taken in how unstructured the working environment is. The "cool, hip" companies are the ones that encourage their employees to engage in nerf gun fights, have parties every Friday, and generally play around on company time. Sometimes it is hard for me to believe that these companies can be globally competitive, but maybe companies all over the world are all doing the same things.

I personally believe that there is a fine balance between too much carrot, and too much stick, but that the answer certainly does not come from throwing the stick out completely. I am most motivated when there are expectations of me, and I have worked at companies where expectations are disturbingly low. I honestly believe that most people, even if they won't admit it, need a bit of structure in their working environment to be most productive.

There is definitely a desire for people to believe that the best working environment is the one where the employer puts the least demands on its employees and gives all of the best perks possible, and that such an environment would make everyone more productive if only employers weren't so pig-headed and could just realize that ... but I think this is really wishful thinking. It actually worries me that software companies in the USA are often like this because somewhere there must be companies that Just Get Shit Done (India maybe?) without all of the frivolities and eventually, they're going to dominate. And I want the software industry in the USA to stay healthy because that's how I earn my living.

By the way, I think that it would be hard to out-cushy Google. Their campus is like Club Med and I have a hard time believing that they get anything close to maximum productivity out of their workforce because of it.

Posting AC because obviously I don't want my current or past employers or coworkers to somehow get word of this and get pissed off at me.

Re:I'm not sure this is as good as it sounds (2, Funny)

gringer (252588) | more than 6 years ago | (#24415355)

Posting AC because obviously I don't want my current or past employers or coworkers to somehow get word of this and get pissed off at me.

Or, for that matter, my... er, I mean your future employers or coworkers

Re:I'm not sure this is as good as it sounds (4, Insightful)

Joe the Lesser (533425) | more than 6 years ago | (#24415375)

I think there is a balance that is needed. A boring, rigid office will stifle interest and energy, but if it's too silly an office then it's hard to concentrate when the time is right.

Granted, I've never seen companies pay for daily muffins and stuff (i wonder how many aren't eaten?), but letting your employees have flex time usually lowers stress levels, especially for those with kids.

Carrot and Stick (5, Insightful)

UncleWilly (1128141) | more than 6 years ago | (#24415429)

The only carrot I have ever seen is a paycheck, everything else is a stick.

Re:Carrot and Stick (4, Funny)

MistrBlank (1183469) | more than 6 years ago | (#24415495)

At least you see the stick, where I work, they give me the stick, it's just in a place I can't see it.

Re:I'm not sure this is as good as it sounds (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24415617)

When the hell did "carrot and stick" meaning "providing an incentive to perform" (the proverbial carrot at the end of a stick) start being so widely misused as "the combined use of incentives and punishments" (be good get a carrot, be bad get beat by the stick)? This is a bastardization on the order of taking "turn the other cheek" to mean "look the other way".

Re:I'm not sure this is as good as it sounds (1)

hobbit (5915) | more than 6 years ago | (#24415851)

I for one welcome our new carrot-and-stick definition. Unlike the completely redundant misuse of "turn the other cheek" you mention, it's actually quite useful to be able to say "too much carrot and not enough stick" or similar.

Re:I'm not sure this is as good as it sounds (1)

houghi (78078) | more than 6 years ago | (#24415853)

This is a bastardization on the order of taking "turn the other cheek" to mean "look the other way".

Indeed because "turn the other cheek" means to bend over and show those cheeks. Right? RIGHT? What did I win?

Re:I'm not sure this is as good as it sounds (2, Insightful)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 6 years ago | (#24415649)

I would very much have to agree. If you have a bunch of extra money to spend on employee perks, make it on stuff that actually helps them get stuff done. Get them all good chairs, good workstations with multiple monitors, and private offices. Make it a place people want to work instead of a place where people want to goof off. Having a keg of beer and a block of cheese may seem like some nice perks, but it's not going to help the company get any work done. And it actually really detracts from people who actually want to build anything. Because to do any work, they have to go sit on their $40 office chair, and work on their P2 computer, with a 14 inch CRT.

Re:I'm not sure this is as good as it sounds (4, Insightful)

HungryHobo (1314109) | more than 6 years ago | (#24415665)

Nothing wrong with a decent environment. Keep in mind that particularly in tech companies getting the best can make a big difference. A great coder can get more done than 10 mediocre ones but only cost 2 or 3 times as much to pay. The best and brightest who are already earning enough that money isn't a big problem in their lives are also more likely to want to work somewhere where they're happy rather than going for that extra 5K per year. Sure you could just up the pay but if the cost of the perks/parties is less than what you'd have to pay those same people to keep them in a horrible workplace then you're better off going with the snacks and cola. that being said, people who are not decent workers should be dropped like a rock if they're simply not getting the work done.

Re:I'm not sure this is as good as it sounds (1)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 6 years ago | (#24415745)

The "cool, hip" companies are the ones that encourage their employees to engage in nerf gun fights, have parties every Friday, and generally play around on company time.

Oh, I see! If you have a relaxed atmosphere, that must necessarily mean that there are no expectations and no demands. Interesting premise. Grossly ignorant and wrong... but interesting.

Re:I'm not sure this is as good as it sounds (5, Insightful)

JoeMerchant (803320) | more than 6 years ago | (#24415915)

To paraphrase the parent and add my own perspective: the perks aren't the problem if the people are productive.

Lunch ordered in costs maybe $7 to $15 a head, and unless your employees would be bringing brown bags and eating them at their desk, saves at least 30 minutes of travel and waiting time to and from getting lunch. So, call cost of lunch $11, in return for 30 minutes of productivity - how many of your employees earn less than $22 an hour? And, those that do earn less than $22 an hour probably really appreciate the free lunch, possibly enough that they won't be jumping ship to a company down the street that might pay them $2 an hour more.... Most Google'ers are notoriously underpaid on a cash basis.

Free gym membership - $30 per month - this one is a little more esoteric, and I can see how working out actually takes time away from working on other things, but if the gym is conveniently located to work, it discourages people from getting a gym membership near their home, makes their life more work-centric, and possibly improves their cardio-vascular health - which actually does have a direct positive effect on cerebral productivity.... Similarly for the doctor on-site one day a week, convenient, health benefiting, time saving, and the cost is near trivial when you compare it to the benefits...

Now, this is all moot if your employees simply show up to take advantage of the benefits and don't actually do anything productive otherwise... but, these are likely the same employees you find at perkless companies who spend their time surfing the web, making personal phone calls, and leaving their post to run errands 10 hours a week and more. (and posting lengthy responses on /. (oops!)).

This isn't that unusual (3, Insightful)

neoform (551705) | more than 6 years ago | (#24415293)

From what I heard, they had $33 million in capital, strawberries, checkups and BBQs don't use that kind of cash. Over staffing will however. Nothing in this article makes me think they're doing anything over the top like private jet rides to Las Vegas.

Re:This isn't that unusual (2, Insightful)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 6 years ago | (#24415391)

These perks are fairly cheap, vs. all the other expenses that go on. These type of things probably account for an extra $15 a day per employee That can be made up by improved productivity by the workers less sick days etc... The boom times had this plus paying a basic Web Developer 100k a year, that is without Javascript, Flash, etc. Just doing "HTML" in frontpage.

Re:This isn't that unusual (3, Funny)

aldousd666 (640240) | more than 6 years ago | (#24415635)

haha, I take it that means you do Javascript then.

How Long? (4, Informative)

doomicon (5310) | more than 6 years ago | (#24415301)

" how long will their $25 million VC funding last at this rate?"

Based on my late 90's Start up runs in NYC, I would say the Doctor and Free Gym Personal Trainer will be gone in two weeks, the food in a month, and 75% of the employees in 3 months.

Stories like this may even bring PuD back to F**kedcompany postings.

If the bubble's back, it will burst soon (4, Insightful)

Kazymyr (190114) | more than 6 years ago | (#24415311)

From my experience with using Cuil for a few days, it is utterly and completely useless in its present form. Yes it's nice visually, but it's a search engine got heaven's sake - visually pleasant is nothing if the searches don't return anything useful.

Re:If the bubble's back, it will burst soon (4, Insightful)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 6 years ago | (#24415473)

Cuil is pretty much living on the lie that it has over 120 billion index pages, which as it turns out [slashdot.org] after using it a bit seems indeed like complete and utter bullcrap. Without this claim (that their index is 3 times bigger than Google's, yeah right..) they're just another trier with a design some people argue is nice.

Re:If the bubble's back, it will burst soon (2, Informative)

quadrox (1174915) | more than 6 years ago | (#24415763)

When I tried out cuil the first time (first slashdot post) it had lots of problems finding just about anything. But I just tried again today and got pretty much all the results I wanted. Not all of them in the top spot, but the results have improved quite a bit.

If they keep improving Cuil may well become better than google (in terms of relevant results). Right now it's so-so, but that doesn't mean you should completely dismiss it.

I for one am looking forward to seing some real competition and new features. I wish them the best of luck.

Re:If the bubble's back, it will burst soon (3, Insightful)

hobbit (5915) | more than 6 years ago | (#24415909)

Maybe it's not a lie, and they just index all the link farms to which Google give the go-by.

"Number of web pages indexed" is a completely useless metric on the modern internet.

Re:If the bubble's back, it will burst soon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24415521)

I checked out Cuil a few days ago and came to the same conclusion. It sort of works but it's a pretty poor excuse for a search engine at the moment. I'm not sure the unique layout is really very good either. Different isn't always good. Sometimes there's a good reason that everyone does it the same way.

Re:If the bubble's back, it will burst soon (2, Interesting)

Major Blud (789630) | more than 6 years ago | (#24415627)

Man I couldn't agree with you more. I gave it the benefit of a doubt, and tried it for a day. It was complete waste of time. Don't believe me? Do a search on Google of "Slashdot Wikipedia" and then do the same search on Cuil. Google acts as expected...the first link posted is the Wikipedia article about Slashdot. On Cuil, it brings you to a Slashdot article referencing the history of Wikipedia. It proves that just indexing a bazillion pages is useless if you can't effectively *use* those indexes. There's a reason that Google is the #1 search engine...simplicity, speed, and accurate results.

Re:If the bubble's back, it will burst soon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24415787)

Exactly. Do some obscure searching and you will find alot of bunk. "sherlock holmes' smarter" is one that I used, try it, try your own.
Very uncuil, so far.

Re:If the bubble's back, it will burst soon (5, Funny)

GweeDo (127172) | more than 6 years ago | (#24415825)

search for "lock ness monster"
Google: images of Nessie, links to wikipedia and other helpful sites
Cuil: a man pulling on his penis

So, the moral of the story? Misspell something in google and get relevant data. Do that to Cuil and you get a penis.

Needs a lot of work (3, Insightful)

JoeCommodore (567479) | more than 6 years ago | (#24415323)

I think there will be a pop.

Have you tried it? Part of the draw may be the speed and the images next to the search results, but realistically, not really the best results, and the pictures that come up on the results are stock photos - not any relation to the site content at all. (if you have your own domain, search for it and see what I am talking about)

Re:Needs a lot of work (1)

Yetihehe (971185) | more than 6 years ago | (#24415859)

Next, they will sit some users, tell them it's some "sahara" project, and film them saying "At last good search engine. What, it's still old cuil engine? Wow, looks I was wrong."

well (1)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 6 years ago | (#24415327)

the only reason any of that matters - is because right now their search doesn't work. if it did work better than google, people wouldn't care what they did with their money. but it doesn't - and so cuil is doomed to become a joke, or reference to failure. And it's not like this wasn't obvious right from the start [slashdot.org] .

Seriously? (2, Insightful)

i_want_you_to_throw_ (559379) | more than 6 years ago | (#24415331)

If it were former HotBot engineers that were doing this would this be such a big deal? Probably not.. It's the Google association that is generating all the media. IMHO, Cuil is having it's 15 minutes.

It does make you wonder though if the Google lovefest is over. Now that they are a publicly traded company their only obligation is to their shareholders and as a publicly traded company they should probably change their motto to "We do less evil than everyone else".

Makes you wonder if all the attention to Cuil just brings up the fact that maybe people are starting to turn on Google and why not? Maybe they're getting TOO much power. With that being said, more power to Cuil.

Re:Seriously? (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 6 years ago | (#24415505)

Google, as a publicly traded company, has obligations to three people. The stock is structured such that Sergei, Larry and Eric have complete control over every single shareholder vote.

Sure, they have to toe the line and generally act in the interests of other shareholders for publicity reasons, but they aren't beholden to other people when it comes to setting the mission of the company, or electing the board, or whatever.

Re:Seriously? (1)

hobbit (5915) | more than 6 years ago | (#24415949)

Google, as a publicly traded company, has obligations to three people. The stock is structured such that Sergei, Larry and Eric have complete control over every single shareholder vote.

That may be the case, but Google is still beholden to maximise shareholder value for every shareholder. Sergei, Larry and Eric can't vote to change the law in that respect.

Re:Seriously? (1)

cowscows (103644) | more than 6 years ago | (#24415875)

I wouldn't say that people are turning on Google as much as Google has just stopped being all that interesting. Many people are of the opinion that their search has become increasingly less useful as of late as the spammers have become better at gaming their ranking system. But even if that's not actually true, at the end of the day, it's primarily just a search engine, which is important, but not particularly glamorous.

People still use it, but it's not like it's a fun game or something, it's just a tool. And once it becomes familiar and part of your routine, it's hard to get excited about it. Google has done a pretty good job of at least keeping their brand exciting by releasing their take on other things (maps, mail, etc.) and their IPO and the huge piles of money kept them in the news. But there hasn't been anything really interesting as of late.

Not that there's anything wrong with that. But it shouldn't be a surprise if the media starts pushing other headlines. Because that's what the media does, and if there's no good headlines out there, they'll make one out of something insignificant.

How many employees do they have? (4, Interesting)

gravyface (592485) | more than 6 years ago | (#24415341)

It sounds expensive, but if there's 10 employees, that VC funding could last years.

Google set a precedent for perks, so it's only natural that companies are going to try to repeat that success for recruiting purposes alone.

Is this unusual? (5, Insightful)

PackMan97 (244419) | more than 6 years ago | (#24415345)

There are a ton of companies out there that offer free snackies, gyms, on-site doctors, etc. For the most part they are prudent financial decisions. free snacks: the cost is VERY minimal compared to the good will generated and assuming it's stocked internally, you don't have to allow an outside vendor in to stock machines improving your security. gyms: healthy employees cost less to insure. healthy employees miss less work. healthy employees are more attractive and will lead to improved workplace chemistry. healthy employees impress customers. on-site doc: employees only need to take 30m off work to see the doc instead of having to get in a car, drive to their doc, wait, wait, wait, see doc, drive back to work which is 2 hrs minimum. so, while a lot of these really seem excessive, they aren't.

Re:Is this unusual? (5, Interesting)

Inda (580031) | more than 6 years ago | (#24415709)

Not unusual, no. Mine you, I've only been working in this company 10 years...

Lunch is ordered in every single day.

We have a subsidised restaurant and sandwich bar. The coffee bars take the piss out of Starbucks.

Huge fridges burst with snacks and drinks.

Free coffee and soft drinks from machines in each corner of each floor in each building.

Bowls of strawberries and muffins lie around the rest area.

Um, stale sandwiches and fruit left over from long meetings..?

The company pays for a personal trainer and gym membership for everyone.

Fully stocked gym, several trainers, but only one working at a time, one physiotherapist. Open 24/7. Treatment room looks well equipped although I've never needed to used it.

A doctor calls round each Friday, after the weekly barbeque, to see if everyone's in good health.

Doctor is in his office 5 times a week. Two nurses are always there.

Employees drift in an out at times that suit themselves.

90% of us are on personal contracts. I'm supposed to do 37 hours a week, I'll only do 35 this week though as I want to go home early on Friday. Do my work and everyone's happy. We refuse to talk about people being 30 minutes late in the mornings - it's not productive. If anything, we'll complain when others are coming in at 8am and not going home until 8pm. People working long hours is not productive, it creates a bad atmosphere, if there's work for two people, employ a second person.

This is a massive company in the UK. My site alone employs 2,000 people.

..and? (3, Interesting)

RMH101 (636144) | more than 6 years ago | (#24415357)

Single post, now retracted on someone's blog.
Plus, how much does a bowl of strawberries cost?
Buy lunch in? Perhaps it works out cheaper than maintaining a kitchen and staff. This is a non-story.

The cynic in me also thinks that maybe Cuil want people to think they're young, confident and worth investing in.
Their search engine seems pretty average at best from what I've seen so far, yet strangely they're getting lots of media coverage. Is this "story" part of that?

Re:..and? (3, Funny)

Applekid (993327) | more than 6 years ago | (#24415475)

Plus, how much does a bowl of strawberries cost?

The strawberries are cheap. The 12 female naked virgins that serve them to you body-shot style are what costs.

I figured out their business plan: (5, Funny)

MMC Monster (602931) | more than 6 years ago | (#24415365)

Be on the front page of /. every week, boosting their add impressions.

Re:I figured out their business plan: (1)

Veamon (733329) | more than 6 years ago | (#24415413)

But what about their AD impressions?

Re:I figured out their business plan: (2, Insightful)

ciaohound (118419) | more than 6 years ago | (#24415791)

These startups are notorious for their vague business plans. They don't take the time to do the math. They just kind of give their impressions of how they think their revenue will add up. Sheesh!

Re:I figured out their business plan: (1)

Otter (3800) | more than 6 years ago | (#24415629)

In all seriousness, they've done a terrific job of getting themselves free publicity. Unfortunately, it seems like they've done it at least a year too early and are only attracting lots of attention to a not-really-useful site. (What used to be known as "Good advertising kills a bad product" and is now referred to as "Remember Marimba?"

Different headline (3, Funny)

radarjd (931774) | more than 6 years ago | (#24415389)

Perhaps the headline should be "Cuil Proves that VCs are Still Vulnerable to Hype"?

Doctor, I feel fat! (1)

Joe the Lesser (533425) | more than 6 years ago | (#24415403)

You eat too many muffins!!!

Re: get it right: CBT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24415795)

"You eat too many biscuits."

Fixed that for you. It's called Chronic Biscuit Toxicity.

Good idea, bad idea (1)

192939495969798999 (58312) | more than 6 years ago | (#24415423)

good idea: new search engine

bad idea: search engine is called "cool" but they don't have cool.com.

good idea: free strawberries, etc. around the office.

bad idea: employees can come and go whenever they feel like it.

Good idea: 25 million in VC money.

Bad idea: spending most of your VC money on something other than the product that got you the VC money (i.e. strawberries, etc).

Re:Good idea, bad idea (1)

WatcherXP (658784) | more than 6 years ago | (#24415719)

I was thinking it was pronounced like the word Cull (Kuhl). Which is defined as a verb as such 1. to choose; select; pick. 2. to gather the choice things or parts from. 3. to collect; gather; pluck. (Dictionary.com)

Whatever. (4, Informative)

MrMacman2u (831102) | more than 6 years ago | (#24415479)

Cuil Sucks. Seriously, it sucks real hard.

I liked their privacy policy and thought their approach to searh results was unique and fresh, it just needed a bit of getting used to.

So, I have tried using it in place of Google since it was announced.

I gave up today in shear frustration.

Take me home Google! I missed you so!

Re:Whatever. (2, Funny)

hobbit (5915) | more than 6 years ago | (#24416007)

I gave up today in shear frustration.

That might be what your problem is: it's not supposed to be yielding wool.

Cuil? No. True Knowledge? Yes! (4, Interesting)

tetrahedrassface (675645) | more than 6 years ago | (#24415503)

Not sure if there is bubble but one thing I did learn about during the Cuil-crash-and-burn-at-launch fiasco was a new search technology out of Cambridge that is in beta right now. It is named true knowledge, and uses natural language strings for search, and wiki style user submitted knowledge base in conjunction with a standard search engine [trueknowledge.com] . It is pretty neat and promising search technology that I found searching after looking that the shorcomings of Cuil. I highly recommend getting a beta account at true knowledge if you are interested in improving search results in a fine grained approach.

Where did this come from? (2, Interesting)

Tabernaque86 (1046808) | more than 6 years ago | (#24415547)

I have never heard of Cuil until this article. I'm a little impressed with the depth of their search, as I did a quick test of searching for old screen names and found some old stuff, and some unexpected stuff (like being mentioned outside of the site I registered for).

However, their results display screen sucks ass. Their 4x3 grid is annoying, especially given the size of each result. Clicking on Preferences completely failed to correct this. I was hoping for "Grid view" vs "List view", but I guess a list view would be too much like Google and completely unacceptable.

Until it fixes this, and adds a conversion calculator, I see no reason to switch to the new kids on the block.

The Bubble HAS Burst. (4, Informative)

imstanny (722685) | more than 6 years ago | (#24415549)

...for financial institutions. I work at a Financial Firm in NYC, and we don't even have coffee makers in the kitchen! And they took away the vending machine. Bottled water has gone up from $12 for 2 cases to $16. I've been reduced to filling up my bottles at the sink, and shorting Google. If you're a Shadenfreude, you've enjoyed this post.

Rest Area? (1)

CR0WTR0B0T (944711) | more than 6 years ago | (#24415561)

Who calls a break room a rest area? The only thing at our rest area is bad coffee and stale donuts provided by the local VFW.

Uh... where are the revenue streams? (1)

Syberz (1170343) | more than 6 years ago | (#24415575)

Maybe I missed it somewhere but, how exactly is CUIL going to make money? There aren't any ads on the search pages and, last I checked, I wasn't billed for pressing that search button. Sounds to me like someone had a Cuil idea (see what I did there) and was charismatic enough to convince VCs to pour money into a business that doesn't have a plan to make money. Either their plan was to blow through as much VC money as possible and have a blast doing it or they've got an ingenious plan to steal ad revenue from Google (good luck boys).

Re:Uh... where are the revenue streams? (1)

beluv (757231) | more than 6 years ago | (#24415967)

The only thing I noticed is what appears to be a sponsored link at the top of the suggested searches drop down which displays as you're typing in your search terms.

Cuil's fate (1, Funny)

beluv (757231) | more than 6 years ago | (#24415597)

Google will acquire them within a year... unless Microsoft beats them to it.

Not for long (5, Interesting)

Alkonaut (604183) | more than 6 years ago | (#24415609)

Regardless of the cost of any perks they may enjoy there, a search engine company needs to have a search engine to live. To me, cuil appears to be a quick hack without the huge index it claims, and without a decent ranking algorithm.

As an example, I did a search for my home town (a really tiny place, 1000 people or so). The top 10 google results included the towns unofficial homepage, a googlemap centered on the town, the wikipedia article for the town, a couple of weather sites with forecasts for the town and so on. All relevant, none repeated.

The first page of cuil displayed *seven* "find hotels in $town" (believe me, there are no hotels) or "find single women in $town" (same story there...). A lot of these spam sites were even repeated five or six times among the first results. A japaneese version of a result was listed higher than the english version of the same result, and so on.

Free Lunches and stuff (4, Informative)

KillerEggRoll (582521) | more than 6 years ago | (#24415611)

I just left a company (unfortunately) that had lunch catered daily, stocked drinks, had a heavily-used foosball table, and (un)officially had flex time among many other benefits. This company happens to be a market leader with no debt and VERY profitable revenue stream.

The company was fortunate to have certain events happen at opportune times, but the benefits were needed to lure a skilled workforce into joining the team. Cuil will probably fall flat, but the "excesses" are warranted IMO.

:-( If I didn't have to relocate, I would never have left.

Not for long... (2, Insightful)

Wiarumas (919682) | more than 6 years ago | (#24415637)

They are enjoying their perks.. sure... but meanwhile their resumes are probably already submitted to other companies. These guys are either the most optimistic crew in the world (to be confidently contesting Google with a subpar engine) or they are just enjoying their time while it lasts.

Too bad their search engine sucks... (3, Funny)

aardwolf64 (160070) | more than 6 years ago | (#24415639)

Too bad their search engine sucks... I searched for: homepage, and my homepage wasn't in the results. Contrast that with Google, where my homepage is the #1 hit.

Re:Too bad their search engine sucks... (1)

Tim C (15259) | more than 6 years ago | (#24415771)

Actually, I just searched for aardwolf on google.com and your homepage was the 23rd or so hit. Mind you, it wasn't in the first 10 pages of results on cuil.com.

On the other hand, it's well known that part of google's algorithm depends on how well linked-to a page is, and yours is linked from every slashdot comment you make. That may well inflate your position in google's results.

Re:Too bad their search engine sucks... (1)

aardwolf64 (160070) | more than 6 years ago | (#24415831)

I'm talking about using my real name. My homepage isn't "aardwolf's homepage". :-)

Pretty face, ugly results. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24415653)

Just tried cuil this morning. Completely useless results. It won't matter if they are run by dot com fools of the most brilliant business minds today. If the product sucks (and in it's present form it does) it won't last long.

cuil is lame (1)

DragonTHC (208439) | more than 6 years ago | (#24415669)

they put these stupid little images next to search results which have no relation to the result.

my site is a gaming editorial site at the moment, and they put a stupid little picture of some little kids running on the beach next to it.

WTF?

cuil is not.

They'll be gone within 2 years (2, Insightful)

wtfispcloadletter (1303253) | more than 6 years ago | (#24415723)

I've tried their "search" engine. I can get better and faster results from a printed telephone book. They may be made up of intelligent, educated people, but they need to get someone with brains on board to perform a complete rewrite of their search algorithms ASAP. I don't see their VC investors being too happy right now and in the near future they're going to be pissed.

I'd like to see some stats to see if they are even getting any traffic now that people have seen how worthless their search results are.

How long will it last? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24415725)

How long will the $25M$ VC funding last?

One kilo of strawberries is, for the sake of ease, around 50 strawberries. The cost of one kilo of strawberries around here is $10.

Fifty employees will probably eat around 4 strawberries a day measured over any prolonged period. Let us say 25% of the strawberries go bad and get tossed out. So we need 250 strawberries a day, or around $50.

With $25M, they will last in excess of 1300 years if they had no other expenses and no income.

I have really stacked the cards in Cuils disfavour here. Perks like these are trivially cheap. The only people who complain about stuff like this are idiots or coinpushers who can't see any benefits of spending money.

For the record: I work in a consultancy company. We have free coffee and fruit, heavily subsidized lunch, someone comes in to give massages every friday if we want them, there is a playstation or something in the offices, and our gym passes are subsidized as far as my employer can without me getting hit with more taxes. We buy whatever techie books we want, and the company pays. We regularly go out and eat together - around four times a year.

This company has not fired anyone the last ten years.

Perks does not mean a nonperforming business. A bad bottom line does. This is not the same thing.

Cuil is a good porn-search engine (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24415765)

It even finds pron for you when you don't want it!

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/07/29/cuil_launch/

Perks != Bubble (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24415803)

Now keep in mind I've never worked for one of these uber-perks companies, I haven't had the benefit of living in Silicon valley, but I don't believe that perks and a relaxed work environment are indicative of some kind of "bubble bursting" danger.

Why is it so many companies (especially US software companies IMO) think that the only way to beat the competition is to work 80 hour weeks in a gray cubicle farm? The majority of my employers have been like this, even the startups, and guess what, they have plenty of their own inefficiency problems. I find myself thinking "I could work like 20 hours a week and get more accomplished than they do in 60 with all the BS going on here."

Anyway it's not the work environment that caused the bubble collapse. It was all the VCs who were filled with non-technical people suddenly enthralled with the magical new technology (OMG Internetz!) and somehow thought the consumer had gotten just as excited about it as they had. These people invested millions of dollars in funding on companies with ideas like "Shop for groceries online!" They actually thought the general public was going to jump on that? I mean come on.

So I will take these "OMG new bubble!" posts to heart when I finally hear something ridiculous like that going on again. But I suspect most of the investors got burned so badly last time that maybe they're a bit more conservative now. Risks are fine (new search engines, etc.) as long as they have a sound concept behind them.

how long will their $25 million VC funding last (1)

thc4k (951561) | more than 6 years ago | (#24415867)

With every slashdot article they will last longer. Just let them die...

I don't get it? (1)

stankulp (69949) | more than 6 years ago | (#24415891)

I tried Cuil, and it seems awfully lame to me.

I didn't get any results I was looking for, all I got was a bunch of links to companies that were obliquely related to my search.

Cuil is an advertisement delivery platform.

cuil: (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 6 years ago | (#24415901)

challenge google on its data retention and privacy policies and atttitude in foreign countries by contrasting sharply with them

go zero retention, max privacy, and tell beijing "fuck you" on its authoritarian dictates

in the meantime, with google's court efforts saying we don't really have privacy, and saying "i bend over" to beijing, the rewards you reap will be spectacular:

1. you will earn tons of free advertising and pr in the press
2. all us zealots here at slashdot will switch allegiance to you
3. the average joe will gradually realize the issues and the benefits

then we will all do the unthinkable: we will slay google

regards and good luck

The failed on the most common search... free porn (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24415903)

http://www.cuil.com/search?q=free%20porn&sl=long

You will find http://124.freejoin0302.nvvam.org/ as the #4 site, yesterday it was #2... it is definitely not free porn.
If you fail on the free porn search... I don't have much hope for anything else.

Yawn (1)

mprindle (198799) | more than 6 years ago | (#24415927)

I am very underwhelmed by cuil. Most basic searches say they have a ton of results, but if you start to look there are duplicates from page to page.

They use last year's data (1)

benwiggy (1262536) | more than 6 years ago | (#24415975)

Searching for terms, which on Google bring up my current website, on Cuil they produce results which point to pages on a different URL that I stopped using a year ago.
That's the kind of cutting edge firm I want to work for!
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