Latest Cuil News
Feb 22, 2012
Google Buys Cuil Search Patent Applications Google has acquired seven pending search user interface patents from defunct, erstwhile challenger Cuil. Google declined to say how it would appropriate the technology. Google(NASDAQ:GOOG) confirmed it has purchased seven search patent applications ofCuil, the failed search startup that set out to defeat the search engine giantwhen it was launched more than three years ago.Financialterms of the patent purchase were not disclosed. A Google spokesperson declinedto comment on the company's plans for the seven patents, which are pendingapproval by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The patentdocuments, uncoveredby SEO By The Sea patent watcher BillSlawski in the USPTO assignment database, cover user interface technologyand formats for search. For example,one patent application is for a graphical user interface that includes tabsrepresentative of different classes of search results.The tabs arerendered in response to the processing of a query. Search results in this UIgroup content by meaning, "such that a query term with different meaningsproduces different classes of search results with different meanings,"according to the patent applications.Another of thepatent applications includes a GUI that sports a "scroll area" thatshows off search results along with a permanently displayed anchored area.Yet anotherpertains to a GUI that includes a document retrieved by processing a query.This GUI also hosts an advertisement, which could surface as text, an image oran icon, which is automatically generated based on the content in the document.As Slawskinoted, the patent applications are not what most people would have expectedGoogle to acquire from Cuil, which offered unique methods of indexing searchresults.Cuil wascreated by former Google employees Tom Costello and his wife, AnnaPatterson, who left the company because they felt limited by the constraints ofits traditional link analysis and traffic ranking, which picks the 10 mostpopular links.Cuil'stechnology analyzed the context of each page and the concepts behind eachquery. It then organized any similar search results into groups and sorts themby category in three columns across the page in magazine-style fashion. Theresults included thumbnail images.Cuil'smarketing pitch was that it would dethrone Google by indexing three times asmany Web pages, including some 120 billion Web pages, compared with 40 billionon Google. Cuil also promised to afford users greater privacy than theincumbent by vowing not to collect IP addresses or search histories.Yet when theWebsite launched to great fanfare on July 28, 2008, it crashedrepeatedly as millions of people pinged the search engine to run queries onthe erstwhile Google-killer. Clashes amongCuil's executive team erupted and festered. Cuil shut down in September 2010,with Patterson returning to Google in a research capacity soon after.Little hadbeen heard of Cuil since, until Slawski's scoop.