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Start-up of the Week: Meet You.com, potential challenger of Google Search dominance

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You.com projects itself as the most private, controllable, personalized AI search experience, with 200+ apps, popular sources, and web results

Generative Artificial Intelligence has become the new buzzword in the tech sector, with Microsoft-powered OpenAI’s ChatGPT making the idea of algorithm sets creating interactive content like audio, code, images, text, simulations, and videos a reality in 2023.

Sundar Pichai-led Google, which was caught off guard by the disruptive tech, is now facing a different challenge altogether as new AI features in the Microsoft Bing search engine and start-up You.com have started to threaten the tech behemoth’s web search dominance, as per media reports.

In today’s episode of the ‘Start-up of the Week’, International Finance will talk about You.com.

Knowing You.com In Detail

You.com is a web search engine and it has developed an AI chatbot called youChat. The bot can answer questions and hold conversations very similarly to ChatGPT, but its additional feature (or call it the game-changing one) lies in the fact that it also provides web search facilities.

While ChatGPT has been trained with data up to 2021, youChat incorporates the You search platform, and the chatbot can also provide citations for answers.

You.com also provides services like Blog writing, while having a strong presence on iOS and Android.

Coming to You Apps, You.com AI Search Assistant describes itself as an “AI that helps you solve your search and accomplish more — all through chat. Life brings questions. You.com is an AI with the answers you need.”

“You.com is the private, personalized, AI search that liberates you from endless search result links. Instead, it answers your questions directly when you ask it anything. This is because You.com is powered by leading artificial intelligence and natural language processing, which allows you to have human-like conversations with it,” it states further.

“As with ChatGPT and Bing, you can have conversations about anything and everything with You.com’s AI conversational search. And it’s always available to answer your questions or provide suggestions on any topic. Plus, it can help with all of those tedious tasks like summarizing text, composing emails, and writing code – so you don’t have to!” the app’s statement reads.

You.com projects itself as the “most private, controllable, personalized AI search experience, with 200+ apps, popular sources, and web results”. Some of the features of the web search engine are fast and direct answers upon web searches, desktop and mobile-friendly experiences, fast and private web browsing with no tracking or data sharing. You’s browsing capabilities allow its users to keep track of all their chats, along with the websites they have visited. You.com also enables its users to fact-check web search answers with book/source citations and real-time data.

Go To Place For Web Developers

You.com also comes with a ‘Developer Portal’, where a web/app developer can create an internet search app, get discovered by millions of users, and generate revenue.

The you.com community of consumers, engineers, scientists, students and marketers help the web/app developer to try, test and promote the new product, all without additional expenses.

“We care about the details, and so do our users. We also care about user choice and privacy, so your app must pass a rigorous vetting process to be equally outstanding. But when it does, you’ll be joining the community built on trust, facts, and kindness,” the start-up stated.

The web/app developer will get millions of daily internet searches on his/her app, along with 50% user retention. Low-code apps can be created in 45 minutes, using You’s custom templating language, APIs and product manual documentation. The web/app developer can also manage his/her products with You’s Developer Dashboard.

Delving More Into You’s Features

One of You.com’s features is YouCode. Under this, software developers can Search through their favourite sources and use AI to write code at a faster rate. They can also customize their search preferences with 150+ apps like StackOverflow, Medium, Amazon and Twitter.

You also comes free of ‘tracking and invasive ads’ and all these elements are provided free of cost to the search engine users.

For students, You has another package called YouStudy. Pupils can search their preferred study materials sources and apps in one place under YouStudy.

YouStudy is followed by YouSocial. Here users can search their favourite social media apps in one place at a faster pace.

“See what people are saying on social networks everywhere, right in your browser. No need to install anything,” You.Com commented.

Then there is a unique package called ‘Bang Search Shortcuts’.

“A bang search shortcut or “bang” or simply “!” is an easy way to do a quick search on another website. Simply type a “!” followed by the site you wish to search. As an example, “!w” is a bang for Wikipedia,” as per You.

“Bangs work like shortcuts that send your search terms to other search engines. For example, if you type !w Albert Einstein into the search box on you.com and hit enter, we’ll take you directly to a search for that topic on Wikipedia,” it added further.

You Have Deficiencies Too

YouChat is not error-free. Company CEO Richard Socher, however, claimed in 2022 that the chatbot would be more “truthful” than other generative AI models. Users have already spoken about YouChat providing wrong information to very basic questions.

While ChatGPT has been trained to refuse to answer ‘harmful questions’, YouChat is a lot more open in this arena and provides detailed instructions to the questions asked to the chatbot.

Conclusion

As International Finance scrolled through You.Com, the verdict is that the tech start-up can be a true challenger to Google’s hegemony, when it comes to the web search arena. A web search engine having customised solutions for software and app developers, students and social media geeks, is something which the tech world has never seen before.

The only problem area for the Richard Socher-led venture lies in the openness of YouChat, which can result in the chatbot generating answers for potentially ‘harmful questions’. Some sort of ethical AI rule set needs to be placed here.

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