Not So Cuil After All
Cuil is a startup search engine that's chock full of people with tons of experience building search engines, not the least of which is Louis Monier of AltaVista and EBay fame; I'm partial to him because he's French and well, I'm with the French posse.
That said, however, this recent Hitwise data shows that it'll take more than some PR to compete with Google.
The firm that's going to disrupt Google doesn't exist yet, but it will be a company that realizes that building a better search engine is neither enough, nor necessary. To beat Google you'll have to help consumers realize that Google is monetizing their intent, and offer consumers a non-intrusive way to monetize their own intent, not via coupons or other equally schlocky means, but through something disruptive and which no one's thought up yet - all while achieving search parity with Google. Root Markets' model (with the Attention Trust piece) touches on the idea of helping consumers take control of their intent, but that's not gotten far.
[Obviously I wouldn't be sittin' here blogging if I'd figured out the elegant solution to this problem, but email me if you do...]