A new search engine, You.com, is challenging Google’s dominance with a promise of better privacy and more elaborate results. The startup launched 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 in public beta testing for the time being, won’t sell users’ personal information, track them online or profile them for targeted ads, the company says. An incognito mode promises full anonymity.
The search engine presents results in a grid of tiles that separates information based on search types, such as websites, YouTube videos, tweets and TikToks. You.com is also letting developers write extensions to further curate search results.
Richard Socher, Salesforce’s former chief scientist and a natural language processing researcher, 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, but 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 immediately respond to a request for 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.