Cuil - cool knowledge?

Just trying out Cuil - a new search engine developed by former Google software engineers. It claims to index three times as many web pages as Google and ten times as many as Microsoft. Cuil uses this in ranking pages based on their content, concepts, inter-relationships and coherency, rather than how often pages are linked to or 'popularity metrics'.

The whole interface is very different, just entering a search not only uses autotext to predict what I might want, but also gives me potential websites as I enter my search terms. Looking for 'digital literacy' returns a page that looks very much more built using web 2.0 - there are panes with each found site's link, a description, and photos. I can explore or drill down by category. The following look interesting - Human Skills, Internet Governance, Educational Stages, Educational Technology. Hovering my mouse over the categories opens up options.

Here's the same search from Google. And if you look at the url, there are indicators of the differences in privacy. While Google has tracked my browser - and lots of other information in the background - the Cuil url is pretty clean - In fact, Cuil emphasise that they do not store any personally identifiable information.

Cuil returns 101,721 results, while Google lists 591,000. So which search engine helps me find useful sites? The top page results are different, and they both list sites of potential interest to me. Given the very wide nature of my search term that isn't really surprising. Looks like this could be worth further exploration.

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See you in Edinburgh on 30th October

Although details aren't yet available on the eLearning Alliance site, the next annual conference sounds to be a must attend event! Entitled Jock Tamson's Bairns (a reference to a Scot's saying meaning "underneath we're all the same"). The conference aims to question whether Web 2.0 marks a transformation in approaches to learning. Will this present further challenges in providing access across organisations, considering that learners could come from across four generations?

Headline speakers include Clive Shepherd chair of the eLearning Network and author of The Blended Learning Cookbook and Stephen Downes renowned eLearning expert. This slideshow is one of Stephen's more recent on the development of online community since the mid 90's, and includes lots(!) of examples of Web 2.0 tools in use for education and learning.

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