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Google-killer launched by ex-employees

Cuil has indexed over 120 billion web pages

A new search engine hopes to topple Google from its position as most used search site.

Cuil (pronounced 'cool') has been created by Anna Patterson, a former Google employee, and her husband, Tom Costello, who researched and developed search engines at Stanford University and IBM. Russell Power, who also worked at Google on search indexing, web rankings and spam detection, co-founded the company with the couple.

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Cuil says it has already indexed 120 billion web pages, which it claims is more than Google, and can provide results organised by ideas with complete privacy for users. And while Google has said it's discovered 1 trillion unique web pages on the internet, it has not given an updated number on how many of the pages it has indexed.

Cuil said its search engine goes beyond traditional approaches by analysing the context of each page and the concepts behind each query so it can provide better rankings by content rather than popularity. Cuil then organises similar results into groups and sorts them by category. It also offers tabs to clarify subjects, as well as suggestions on how to refine searches.

"The time may be right for a challenger," said Danny Sullivan, editor in chief of Search Engine Land. "Competing with Google is still a very daunting task, as Microsoft will tell you."

Cuil isn't the first Google rival to launch this year. Wikia Search, a highly anticipated search engine from Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, made its official debut in January. Wikia Search hopes to provide better search results by allowing a community of users to index pages by using their web page rankings and other suggestions, as well as its own indexing of the web.

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