Feeds

Spammers, Cuil, and the rescue from planet Google

Out-Googling Google is not an option

The next step in data security

Analysis Plenty of digital ink has been needlessly spilt this week over the launch of the suicidally-monikered new search engine Cuil.com. But the only threat to Google is itself and, in a roundabout way, the legion of spammers and "search engine optimisation" (SEO) consultants that buttress its dominance.

These dog days of summer prompted feverish hacks to ponder whether the web empire of the mighty Google might be threatened by its former employees' efforts. Ex-Googlers! Bigger index! Unusual presentation! - reports recorded in a cacophony of utter pointlessness.

In fairness, most concluded that Cuil would not be a "Google Killer". But the pondering over its chance would be laughable if it weren't so boring. We offered brief coverage of the launch here (really NSFW), to note that the results are a bit rubbish, and in some cases obscene. Our second report lifts the lid on the company's cake budget.

Romancing the Google

With a little thought, Cuil not being as good as Google at finding what we want online is the least surprising piece of news since people familiar with the situation said JPII was partial to fish on a Friday. In 2008, Mountain View's all-seeing algorithms in many ways are the web.

It's easy to identify what happened. When it first surfaced in 1998, Google made sense of the web a bit better than anyone else. It was a useful improvement on existing services. Ten years later, the web does its best to make sense of Google.

The sorry upshot is that barring some unimaginable technological leap no search engine's results will ever be better than Google's, at least in the West. And the switch leaves the likes of Microsoft and Cuil (and a dozen other doomed start-ups) effectively attempting to reverse-engineer Google, not understand the information on the web.

Microsoft's recent purchase of natural language search start-up Powerset should provide a case in point. Like many others hungry for a slice of the hugely profitable contextual search advertising business Google has created, Powerset's founders are betting web users want to ask search engines real grammatical questions.

But keyword searches, which the vast majority are adept at now, are faster for users. So the web has adapted to attract their, and Google's, attention.

Other People's Google

The people at the vanguard of reverse-engineering Google are not its jealous search rivals. They're the spammers and SEO consultants. They have driven an ever-closer relationship between the quirks and whims of Google's algorithms and policies, and the structure and content of the web. It's a feedback loop that was unavoidable once Google's early rivals proved unable to respond to its better search results and presentation.

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
'Windows 9' LEAK: Microsoft's playing catchup with Linux
Multiple desktops and live tiles in restored Start button star in new vids
iOS 8 release: WebGL now runs everywhere. Hurrah for 3D graphics!
HTML 5's pretty neat ... when your browser supports it
Mathematica hits the Web
Wolfram embraces the cloud, promies private cloud cut of its number-cruncher
Google extends app refund window to two hours
You now have 120 minutes to finish that game instead of 15
Intel: Hey, enterprises, drop everything and DO HADOOP
Big Data analytics projected to run on more servers than any other app
Mozilla shutters Labs, tells nobody it's been dead for five months
Staffer's blog reveals all as projects languish on GitHub
SUSE Linux owner Attachmate gobbled by Micro Focus for $2.3bn
Merger will lead to mainframe and COBOL powerhouse
iOS 8 Healthkit gets a bug SO Apple KILLS it. That's real healthcare!
Not fit for purpose on day of launch, says Cupertino
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.