Searching for Google Killers: Cuil, Yandex, Guruji…

There is little doubt that Google has a virtual monopoly over search and search based advertising. Even the mighty Microsoft is running helter-skelter trying to mount at least a challenge to Google.

The WSJ reported today about a bay area startup – Cuil, Inc.

Cuil said it won’t collect personal information about its users, such as the addresses of their computers and their individual search histories — although it does track the terms people search for overall. While all major search engines have taken steps to cut back on the time they store data related to individual searchers and to make the data more anonymous, Ms. Patterson said Cuil can stop collecting information about individuals’ behavior altogether because its algorithms rely more heavily on analyzing the content of a particular Web page than on the popularity of the page.

This is a refreshing change from the privacy concerns that hound Google from time to time.  One can finally search without being watched! Secondly, there is something really nice about the way Cuil displays its results. There are no ads, plus the display is a welcome change from the long boring list the Google and other conventional search engines offer.

There was a report in the Businessweek a few weeks back about a Russian search engine named Yandex ,  that was giving Google a run for its money in Russia.

Yandex handles 55% of local language search queries in Russia. Its closest rival is Rambler , another Russian company, with a 17% share, followed by Google with 15%, according to research site LiveInternet.ru.

Surely, there has to be some inherent advantages for search engines that factor local, cultural and other behavioral aspects to develop custom search engines targeted for specific countries around the world (especially non-English speaking).

Another search engine based out of India, named, Guruji recently announced music specific search . In a country like India where films and music are a huge industry this makes a lot of sense.

In general, its great to see more activity in the search space. Whether its Microsoft at the high end with the deep pockets or start-ups, its about time Google had some credible competitors at least at the local level if not on a global scale.

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