Cuil: Search That Sucks or: How NOT To Launch A Search Engine

Search engine Cuil (pronounce it however the hell you want to, but apparently they prefer “cool”) launched yesterday to a whole lot of “Google-killer” OMG vibes. And thus far, it really rather sucks.

The home page is Google-simplistic: Logo. Input box. Search button. Over-inflated index count. About link. Privacy link. On black. (Which is, I hear, the new black.) Start typing and a helpful suggest engine ala Google Suggest pops up. Cheers.

Try to search. One of several things will happen. Since we’re out of the “our servers are cooked” phase of things, chances are, you’ll get a results page. But if you were lucky to give it a shot early on, you’d just be flat presented with a “no results found” page. I searched “web application development” and “web development” and both came up with a 0-results page. This is apparently because the caching system isn’t able to retrieve results on the first request so instead places them in a queue. Except that Cuil doesn’t bother telling you that they’re still getting their shit together and that you’ll need to check back when they’ve actually pulled and cached those results. Not that you’d want to. Here’s why, after the jump.

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Posted in: Rants

Firebug and All Its Fancy: Powering A Web Revolution

John Resig (creator of JQuery) posted an absolutely great piece on how JavaScript/DOM debugger/profiler extension Firebug is truly powering a web revolution.

He examines in good detail some of the things Firebug has enabled developers to do: Things like real-time analysis of applied styles to elements of the DOM and how exactly your stylesheets cascade, let alone the ability to manipulate them in-browser. Things like the ability to profile JavaScript and network performance with a level of granularity and accuracy you could only dream of before—let alone the ability to monitor AJAX calls and debug them. And a bunch more.

He also posits what’s next for Firebug, with some good suggestions for things like visual performance profiling, AJAX-request manual triggering and a few others.

What’s most fascinating to me, though, is the sheer volume of downloads of the Firebug extension. We’re talking 6.2 million downloads since its release. Consider that number for a second. Even if 70% of those are duplicate downloads and only 30% of those downloads are unique users, that’s still 1.8 million developers. Now, Firebug isn’t an add-on for regular users. It’s strictly a power-user/developer tool. Hell, even the Firebug plugin YSlow has over 380,000 downloads.

I think it speaks volumes about the state of the industry and the real web revolution we have on our hands here: Creating applications, making useful tools and delivering quality results are elements within reach of so many more individuals, with such lower barriers to entry, considerably lower costs and a greatly smoothed learning curve.

Powering A Web Revolution [John Resig] | Firebug Extension

Posted in: Cool Stuff, Development

Adobe Makes Dynamic Flash & Flex Files Indexable

Adobe announced today that they were delivering a special optimized Flash player for search robots, allowing search engines like Google and Yahoo to index not just a page’s non-Flash content, not just the content of the static data already indexed within a Flash movie, but the entire contents of each path taken throughout the Flash interface, entirely:

Adobe has provided Flash Player technology to Google and Yahoo! that allows their search spiders to navigate through a live SWF application as if they were virtual users. The Flash Player technology, optimized for search spiders, runs an SWF file similarly to how the file would run in Adobe Flash Player in the browser, yet it returns all of the text and links that occur at any state of the application back to the search spider, which then appears in search results to the end user.

This is an interesting approach that will really change the game for a lot of rich internet application providers. Anyone developing applications on the Flex platform knows that lacking the ability to make their dynamic content indexable is an IMMENSE drawback, especially when so much traffic is driven by search engines now. This changes the game. More on how, after the jump.

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Posted in: Cool Stuff