Former Google employees have set up a rival to the search giant called Cuil – and are hoping to offer a more refined search system for the internet.

Cuil – pronounced 'Cool'- apparently 'combines the biggest Web index with content-based relevance methods, results organized by ideas, and complete user privacy'.

"The Web continues to grow at a fantastic rate and other search engines are unable to keep up with it," said Tom Costello, CEO and co-founder of Cuil.

"Our significant breakthroughs in search technology have enabled us to index much more of the Internet, placing nearly the entire Web at the fingertips of every user.

Content-based results

"In addition, Cuil presents searchers with content-based results, not just popular ones, providing different and more insightful answers that illustrate the vastness and the variety of the Web."

A new generation of search – offering a more accurate system – has been mooted for a long time, with many major companies working on semantic search; or a system that allows human questions like 'where can I find the best value car' into something a computer can interpret and answer.

However, Cuil's promise of a more secure search may well appeal to those who are concerned that Google's oft-criticised attitude to personal data.

Bigger?

The founders say that their 120 billion web page index is three times bigger than any other search engine and that their results are laid out by subject and allows search by concept or category.

They also boats that their indexing system orders by content and not popularity (Google's in heavily decided by inbound links) and that Cuil does not keep any personally identifiable information.

It's an interesting proposition, but with the likes of meag-rich Microsoft trying and failing to usurp Google – it's going to take something very special to take any kind of bite out of the search market.