Earlier today when we saw Google Blogoscoped point out some of the issues that search engine Cuil was having with placing random images of people next to searches for popular people like Bill Clinton and Eric Schmidt (they display a photo of Steve Ballmer next to him, is that not funny?), we thought we’d see what kinds of problems Cuil had with products, services, and companies. The images are supposed to help users identify topics, according to Cuil and sometimes they get it right, but often times they don’t. After much searching, it looked like Cuil was doing okay with placing relevant photos next to companies like Microsoft, Sony, and Dell, but it was having terrible issues with Apple and their products.

What we ended up doing was performing various Apple related searches to see what kinds of images they paired with the results which again, are supposed to help users identify topics. What we found is just as astonishing as what Google Blogoscoped found when searching for individuals. All of the screenshots you see below are the first results that appeared when we performed a search. This didn’t take digging through pages upon pages of results to find an image that didn’t make sense.

Another issue we have is that Cuil implies that the images they display next to a search result come from the page they link to, except they don’t. The first example below shows what happened when we performed a search for the iPhone. No where on the iPhone page that they link to did we find the image for “The Dance Technique of Lester Horton.” Yet another issue is that Cuil does not disclose where they get the images from. Clicking on an image will not display a larger version for you from the original source. Cuil has all of these images downloaded to their servers, so there’s no way to easily find out where the images come from.

Now on to our findings…

A search for iPhone:
Because people purchasing an iPhone need to learn the dance technique of Lester Horton…

iPhone - Cuil.png

A search for iPhone 3G:
Once you get your iPhone 3G, you’ll want to go to an empty room to play with it. Whatever you do, don’t let others see that you have it, otherwise they’ll want to touch it…

iPhone 3G - Cuil.png

A search for MacBook Pro:
Sure the MacBook Pro operating system has ties to Linux, but we hardly think Apple will be throwing up a “Linux-Powered” badge on their site…

MacBook Pro - Cuil.png

A search for Steve Jobs Interview:

The first image appears to be a screenshot from Internet Explorer and the second is an image of Adam Pash from Lifehacker.

steve jobs interview - Cuil-1.png

A search for Mac Leopard Released:
It’s touch to see exactly what’s in this photo, but it doesn’t look as though it’s related to the Mac Leopard release…

The Mac Leopard Roars.png

A search for iPod:
What we might have here is a leaked photo of what the next generation iPod will look like…

iPod - Cuil.png

A search for Mac OS:
Steve Jobs replacement crew?

mac os - Cuil.png