Launched today, www.cuil.com, the stealth search engine was co-founded in 2005 by two former Google engineers (Anna Patterson and Russel Power) and a former IBM top manager (Tom Costello). To compete with rivals Google [GOOG] or Powerset, the Menlo Park, Calif., based startup, has raised $33M in funding in the past two years. While suffering from the launch-day blues, Cuil.com (pronounced “cool”) is impressive, a search engine that casts a wide

net.

For example, a search for “marlins” brings up enough relevant Florida Marlins’ websites to satisfy – along with pictures, an eye-pleasing addition. But what is most impressive is "the Drilldown," a window that appears in the corner of your search results and allows for a thematic “Explore by Category” search, which showed results for related categories like “Marlins players”, “Marlins Managers”, and "Jupiter Hammerheads," the Marlins’ single-A affiliate. Unfortunately, this feature was pretty buggy, often leading to a “no results found” page, even though it was Cuil itself that recommended each search. If they get this working correctly, it could be a great feature.

The freshly launched search engine has 120 billion web pages indexed, three times the amount of any other search engine, and claims that its indexing costs are 1/10th those of Google’s, which should help bring in revenue for paid-indexing advertising.

By Mark Alvarez