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Monday, June 27, 2022

You.com search challenges Google with a new look and private mode

You.com is a search engine challenging Google’s dominance.


A new search engine called You.com is challenging Google’s dominance with a promise of better privacy and more elaborate results. The startup launched its service Tuesday with $20 million in funding from venture capital firms and from a big name in tech, Salesforce Chief Executive Marc Benioff.

You.com, which is now in public beta testing, won’t sell your personal information, track you online or show you targeted ads, the company says. You can perform searches in a personal mode that can be customized for your preferences and that logs things like unsuccessful searches that need to be improved or in a private mode that records nothing, the company said. 

The search engine presents results in a grid of tiles that separates information based on search types, such as websites, YouTube videos, images, tweets, TikToks, and posts on Reddit and LinkedIn. In addition to those sources, it relies on Microsoft’s Bing search engine for many of its results. You.com is also letting developers write extensions to further curate search results.

“Our innovative interface that lets users interact with content by swiping up left and right and moving sources up and down based on preferences. We think it’s important to give users real agency through explicit personalization and customization,” said Richard Socher, You.com chief executive and a natural language processing researcher who was Salesforce’s former chief scientist. He co-founded the startup along with former Salesforce AI leader Bryan McCann.

You.com joins a growing list of small companies willing to take on search giant Google, which accounts for 92% of searches worldwide, according to analytics firm StatCounter. DuckDuckGo, Brave, Ecosia and StartPage all promise better privacy. Many of these companies use Microsoft’s Bing behind the scenes, and none of them has significantly dented Google’s dominance.

Google employs its users’ personal information for targeted advertising but is trying to adapt to increasing privacy sensitivity. It offers tips on private searches, too. Google didn’t comment.

With antitrust regulators eyeing Google’s business, it’s arguably a good time to launch a rival search engine. Google cross-promotes its own projects, for example setting Google as the default search engine in its Chrome browser and on its Android phone software. It also exhorts people using Google search, Gmail, Google Docs and other properties to switch their browser to Chrome.


You.com presents search results as tiles users can swipe through to refine those results.



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