You.com, an AI-powered open supply search engine, launches in beta with $20M in funding led by Salesforce CEO Mark Benioff (Kyle Wiggers/VentureBeat)

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medical exo aipowered serieshalltechcrunch, With $20 million in investment led by Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff and including Breyer Capital, Sound Ventures, Day One Ventures, and others, You.com, which bills itself as the first open search engine in the world, has now announced the debut of its public beta version. As You.com grows its platform to additional users on the public internet, the company claims that the money will be used for consumer improvement, product development, and technological advancement.

According to You.com, the web is becoming more centralised and is being run by a small number of extremely powerful, malicious tech businesses as the economy shifts online. Richard Socher, co-founder and CEO of You.com, argues against this by saying that his company uses technology to help people “maintain better and more productive lives.”

Eight and a half years ago, Socher told VentureBeat via email, “I had the original idea [for You.com]. “Too much information is available nowadays, and no one has the time to read it, analyse it, or know what to believe. The vast bulk of the search market is controlled by [a] single gatekeeper, who dictates what you see, including an excess of advertisements and pages that have been optimised for search engines. Additionally, 65% of search searches end without a click through to another website, indicating that traffic stays inside the Google ecosystem

 

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You.com, founded in 2020 by Socher and Bryan McCann, uses pure language processing (NLP), a form of artificial intelligence (AI), to understand search queries, rate the results, and semantically interpret the questions into other languages, including programming languages. Customers may complete tasks without leaving the results page because to the platform’s extendable built-in search applications and summary of results from around the internet.
“The only way to change the Google home page is to pay for advertisements, which is expensive for businesses and irksome for consumers. Businesses will be able to submit their most valuable, accurate information to that first page using our new platform, and if users like it, they can act right away, said Socher. The majority of businesses and allies will prefer this new digital life interface to Google’s previous one.

Making use of AI to go looking

Before being bought by Salesforce in 2016, Socher founded the AI business MetaMind, which earned more than $8 million in funding. He contributed to the creation of ImageNet, a freely accessible library of annotated images used to test, prepare, and validate object-recognizing AI, and was a member of the team that won first place in the 2007 semantic robotic vision challenge.

Socher has long been interested in the field of NLP. He most recently served as the chief scientist at Salesforce, where he helped build the company’s expansive Einstein AI platform. His doctoral research at Stanford University showed how deep learning, which is roughly based on the neurons in the human brain, can handle several NLP tasks at once, negating the need to create several styles.

McCann oversaw teams working on pure language processing while employed at Salesforce as an analytical scientist.

“We might not have been able to leapfrog a few years of work in [the field of NLP] without cutting-edge deep learning,” Socher said. “At this point, I see search as a crucial application of NLP and AI. The consumer may control the AI with You.com by personalising and customising it.

 

Personalization and confidentiality

On You.com, a single query may be used to search sources like Reddit, Quora, Stack Overflow, and Medium. For instance, programmers may use You.com’s AI to search for code snippets and receive an abstract.

Choose your preferred information, social, shopping, and other sources. You’ll initially see results from the sources you trust, according to the website for You.com. “Get facts, look at GitHub, and write a tweet [all] at one spot.”

Furthermore, according to Socher, You.com “raises the standard” for privacy by offering a “zero hint” incognito mode. The existing ad-free website does not advertise private data or track users online. And although You.com hasn’t ruled out adding adverts, it has made a public commitment to never offer “targeted privacy-invading” commercials.

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“Google is a huge database that contains everything you’ve ever searched for (even if you deleted it), every contact you’ve made, and every app and extension you’ve ever used. You most likely share very intimate information with your search engine that you wouldn’t share with your loved ones or close friends. Additionally, Google tracks you around the web and uses monitoring pixels on partner websites to keep tabs on you in addition to just your search queries. All of this data would be retained and then monetized through ad targeting, said Socher. It’s critical to develop a more equitable system so that people can manage their data and businesses of all sizes may have a chance to appear on the first page of [a] search when their content is relevant.

 

competing against established players

Thirty-employee You.com is one of a new wave of businesses attempting to challenge Google’s hegemony in online search. Another is Mojeek, a company located in the U.Okay. that develops web indexing technologies, and Neeva, which was founded by two former Google executives. Subscription-based Neeva licences Microsoft’s Bing for its internet index but promises fewer ads and greater privacy by merging results from a user’s emails and other private data. With a goal of reaching 6 billion pages by the end of 2021, Mojeek is building its own index. (Google asserts that it has so far listed many billions.)

Over 90% of the global search market has consistently belonged to Google for much of the last ten years. According to Statcounter, Yahoo is the first with 1.5%, followed by Bing with 2.9%.

Longtime rivals like DuckDuckGo have made slow but consistent gains, whilst others, like Berlin-based Ecosia, have found it difficult to gain traction in the fiercely competitive industry. Cuil, which was founded by former Google workers as well, acquired $33 million in funding and listed more than 120 billion web pages before ceasing operations in 2010 after little over two years in business.

 

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Regarding what detractors claim to be monopolistic behaviour, Google is subject to two state-led antitrust cases as well as a federal litigation in the United States. Regulators’ efforts to open up the search sector, though, have so far been uneven. For instance, a Stanford study found that a search engine “alternative screen” on Android devices purchased in the European Union, which was mandated by the European Commission in 2019, tended to benefit businesses who are more active in their customer monetization.

The importance of rethinking search and creating You.com has increased as a result of the epidemic. What began as a way to set up and make information accessible to everyone 20 years ago has changed to emphasise the relevance of adverts above the relevance of the content. There has long been a mistaken belief that involvement is more significant than helping people accomplish their goals and saving them time, Socher continued. “You.com is a dependable platform that empowers users and developers to innovate and jointly develop the search economic system. In order to truly allow users to tailor their data experience, we want to democratise data submission and selection. I think it’s crucial that we restore business and management and treat customers as people rather than as mere consumers of goods.

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