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Two former Google [NASDAQ:GOOG] developers left the company in 2006 to begin a harrowing endeavor: build a search engine that could index more pages than their former employer's. The pair — couple, actually, as they're married — succeeded, at least in numerical terms. Cuil (pronounced "cool") searched 121 billion pages, which is about three times what Google's spider indexes. Google, to its credit, has a more complex pagerank system that determines where a given result falls on the list it presents after a query, but Cuil will apparently make its mark by getting more pertinent results and presenting them in a "magazine" format (think of an ice-cube tray of paragraphs and photos on your screen.)

The startup has a solid $33 million behind it in venture capital, which should give it at least a foothold in the seemingly-mature search market. The site started taking queries today, and after a few cursory searches, I must say that the "magazine" layout isn't exactly space-efficient or intuitive; my monitor fit about eight search results without scrolling, as opposed to 15 or 20 on Google. That said, it was usually easier to illicit the content of each result without having to click through, but the results listed didn't seem any more or less useful than those I got on a similar Google search. Then again, Google probably didn't look too hot on its first day, either.