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Google gobbles kaput search robot Cuil's patents

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Patents for a crappy, short-lived muffin-, strawberry- and porn-fuelled search engine created by three ex-Googlers have been scooped up by the Chocolate Factory.

Cuil, which was pronounced "Cool" and was labelled as a GOOGLE KILLER – but in fact proved to be neither of those things – plonked itself on the interwebs in July 2008.

The startup's CEO Tom Costello said at the time that: "Cuil presents searchers with content-based results, not just popular ones, providing different and more insightful answers that illustrate the vastness and the variety of the web."

Costello researched search engines at Stanford University and IBM, while his wife, Anna Patterson, worked at Google. She later founded the search engine with Costello and another ex-Googler, Russell Power.

Cuil was extremely good at serving up copious amounts of porn in queries that were anything but X-rated. At the time, the outfit blamed what was clearly a design flaw on heavy traffic to the site before coughing to a "serious corruption" of its files.

Any interest in Cuil died out very quickly indeed as it became clear that three ex-Googlers did not a Choc Factory search engine make.

Patterson later returned to Google after Cuil failed to secure further funding. The site went dark in September 2010.

Now, as spotted by blogger Bill Slawski, Google has acquired the final pending patent applications for Cuil bringing Patterson and co's futile adventure full circle back into the loving arms of the Oompa Loompas. Bless. ®

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