We where introduced to three web sites offering very different services, to very different degrees of usefulness.
chacha.com - Offers multitudes of answers to multitudes of subjects. They supposedly have college students providing the answers. It sounds a little gimmicky to me, though it is providing some employment opportunity. Sort of like ask.com (Ask Jeeves-like circa five years ago). Not really a new idea, just another service competitor. I tried it, I asked where the best hot dog stands where in the Aurora Illinois area, but chacha.com didn't know. It seems to me that a search engine service such as this needs to have a very high success rate of percentage of questions answered, and it has to be a wide range of questions. I don't see a real need for this service. I am trying to understand what really unique niche this service offers that I would have long term use for.
cuil.com - Internet search engine.
Welcome to Cuil—the world’s biggest search engine. Maybe it is the biggest, maybe even the best. That's what they claim. Maybe they are right. I'll try it and in time I will know if it is better than Google, if not the best.
zillow.com - Real estate research and pricing guide.
Its possible that the information offered is current and somewhat accurate, but I would hesitate to swear to that. I think that at best this service should be used as an initial guide to real estate prices, but not to be used exclusive of alternative and better-proven resources. Lets face it, real estate transactions can be pretty intimidating for most of us. Its still best to work with an experienced agent found through personal recommendation. We don't know who runs zillow.com, do we? We do not know how accurate their real estate data is, how impartial they are, or who they represent. For the simple reason that when it comes to personal finances, I think the average person needs to be sure that their best interests are looked after by someone they know, not an anonymous Internet advisor.
I guess my comments above reveal my favorite and most promising choice is cuil.com more because it seems less gimmicky than the other two. It seems as though Google.com is considered the search engine of choice, and perhaps it rates that high measure. However, competition is a healthy thing. I remember the early days of my web surfing, in which other search engine services where at the forefront. Google didn't even exist. My point is that everything, especially web services, evolves over time.