Cuill Inc. (pronounced [kool]) is a startup company that is pioneering a new approach to Search.
What’s so special?
Cuill, the secretive search start-up — This is the latest start-up, started by two Google folks and two Stanford folks. Co-founders include Tom Costello, of Stanford, and Anna Patterson, formerly at Stanford and now at Google (described as a search wizard). They’re raising a VC round for the company. We’re told they claim they can crawl the Web at a tenth of the cost Google can. We’ve contacted Costello to find out more. We’re open to tips if you hear of anything.
from Venture Beat, Feb 12, 2007
The company’s main claim is that it can index web pages significantly faster and cheaper than Google can – Cuill has told potential investors that their indexing costs will be 1/10th of Google’s, based on new search architectures and relevance methods. In some ways Cuill is the polar opposite of Powerset, which has huge indexing costs because it does a deep contextual analysis on every sentence on every web page. Powerset’s indexing costs, therefore, should be much higher per web page than Google’s.
Cuill was also founded by highly respected search experts. Husband and wife team Tom Costello and Anna Patterson were joined by Russell Power. Patterson and Power are ex-Google search experts, and Google must be fuming that their inventions were not added to Google’s intellectual property library. Costello was the founder of Xift.
Cuill met with venture capitalists, but we’re hearing that Costello and Patterson eventually self-funded the company with a $5ish million injection of capital. They now have 10-15 employees and offices in Menlo Park.
Another rumor circulating is that Google already took a shot at acquiring the company with a very healthy offer, showing that they take this potential threat seriously. And the company may have enticed at least one other senior search scientist from Google to join them recently.
from TechCrunch, Sep 4, 2007
What would you do if you could do the same work as your largest competitor at 10 cents on the dollar?
Whether they can actually accomplish this remains to be seen, but if Google has taken notice it is for good reason. Two of the three founders have worked for Google and two out of three have a PhD in computer science (the other is on leave for his PhD).
They have released a very limited amount of information about their technology, in fact, they haven’t said much more than “Yup. We’re working on it.” (search that is). What they said is about their robot:
Twiceler is an experimental robot. The user-agent to block this is twiceler. It could take 24-48 hours for us to re-read your robots.txt file.
Apparently they are already indexing websites.
I look forward to the competition for Google. Could this be an answer for Yahoo, Ask or MSN search?
Little is known, but I am sure that buzz around Cuill will be heating up!