Monday 18 August 2008

Cuil versus Google - the value of brands in the Web 2.0 economy

Cuil, an old Irish word for knowledge (pronounced COOL), purports to be “the world’s biggest search engine”, searching more pages on the Web than “anyone else” - apparently three times as many as Google and ten times as many as Microsoft. Rather than relying on “superficial popularity metrics”, Cuil searches for and ranks pages based on their content and relevance.

So will Cuil become the new Google? Patrick Carmody, an independent strategist who has worked at leading communications agencies in South Africa and the UK, writes that switching search brands is far easier (and less risky) than switching “offline” brands such as car brands or cigarette brands - and one should not count on brand loyalty when switching is made that easy as in the online world. On the Internet people are more able to show loyalty towards a product rather than a brand.

However, Carmody reckons that “Cuilmania” will pass quickly. Google’s brand strength, he assumes, will give the search leader (Google was ranked as the world's most valuable brand by Millward Brown in 2007, attaching a value of U$86bn to the brand) time to respond to its new competition, if need be.

Search users will tell which search engine will turn out to be the “cuiler” one… Check out Cuil here and Patrick Carmody’s Challenging Brand Thinking blog here.

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