After publishing the first Cuil post this morning and adding it to my list of semantic search engines, I realized that I hadn’t checked its foreign language abilities. German is the only language I can assess as a native, so I searched for a few popular German terms like Fernsehprogramm (TV guide), Thomas Godoj (German winner of Pop idol) and Bauchtanz (belly dance). Turns out foreign languages might (yet) be its Achilles heel…
First off: Cuil (not quite understandably!) does not know Thomas Godoj, it doesn’t even recommend it as a popular search. Not even his official homepage is listed. Cuil promises to respect privacy – which might mean that it doesn’t even track IPs because the single quality search result it offers is the Thomas Godoj entry in the ENGLISH wikipedia. The selected pictures show pop singer James Blunt and the World Cup Trophy (from 2006 – i.e. before Thomas’ reign) and most search results actually link to video pages where Cuil probably found the most relevant tags as the links read: video.worldcupblog.org/tags/Godoj/
On to Fernsehprogramm… This is a word the search recommender knows. The recommended categories include “Canadian actors” and I wonder whether Cuil was probably too smart: Maybe it knew that German is spoken in Austria, Germany and Switzerland and didn’t want to discriminate against any of these? Because among the top four websites are: www.fernsehen.ch, www.tvmovie.de and tv.vienna.at. IP resolution would have helped here, too.
And finally Bauchtanz – I admit this might not be an extremely popular search term, but hey, Cuil is able to translate it into “Belly dance” as a related category. The preview of the website content, however, needs some cleaning up – too many keywords, too little relevant content.
Bottom line: Cuil knows a bit of German, but not enough to speak to German-speaking audiences. On the other hand: It’s only two days old, and it might learn quickly! And while we’re at it – it might also be a good idea if they learned French, because – as Blogtillyoudrop writes -:
Well dear Cuillers (cuillÃ¨re in French means spoon), I have something to tell youâ€¦ If youâ€™re claiming to be the largest search engine in the world, you should think global and act local. And here I am talking about your brand name. Cuil sounds like â€˜couillesâ€™ (balls/bollocks) or cul (arse) in French! Not exactly enticingâ€¦