Would You Use Privacy-Focused Search Engine You.com?

The new search engine offers an ad-free experience, promising to summarize the best parts of the internet.

You.com search engine

We don’t get to see a new search engine launching every day. Well, there is a “New Kid on the Block” and it’s simply called “You.com.” But can it beat Google?

First, let me say that beating Google is pretty much impossible at this stage, considering its market cap and wide(st) reach. However, perhaps You.com can make a dent like DuckDuckGo.

You.com dubs its search engine to be AI-driven and privacy-focused that will undoubtedly convince some users to give it a try. It is now in public beta so everyone could try it out.

The search engine comes from the former Salesforce chief scientist Richard Socher, who claims his “baby” is built on trust, kindness, and facts — all of which are unfortunately lacking these days.

“We want to work on having more click trust and less clickbait on the internet,” Socher told TechCrunch.

You.com bets on its AI-based algorithm that uses natural language processing to better understand potential queries. Moreover, the search engine prides itself with its process of summarizing results. To that end, it aims to “make your life easier by summarizing the web for you, eliminating the need to open multiple tabs.” And as part of this process, You.com lets users set preferred sources so results from those sites are ranked higher in your searches.

You.com is a completely ad-free platform and the company claims that it “never sells your data to advertisers or follows you around the internet” and that it will never feature targeted ads. It uses integrated apps from sites like BBC News, Craigslist, and others to make it easier to choose what kind of content you want to see.

There is also a (real) private mode that will “never store your queries, preferences or locations.” But even in its default mode, You.com uses its IP address (not yours) to send anonymized data in order to populate results from apps and sites such as local weather info and things like nearby restaurants or attractions.

Finally, You.com says its operations are carbon neutral thanks to a partnership with Sustain.Life to offset the search engine’s carbon emissions.

The problem, however, is the money. Because it doesn’t sell ads, it is kinda hard to imagine how You.com will make money. It does feature some affiliate links but those can hardly pay off this operation as it hopefully becomes bigger. So, we would guess, some ads will be introduced down the road.

“The first page of Google can only be modified by paying for advertisements, which is both annoying to users and costly for companies. Our new platform will enable companies to contribute their most useful actual content to that first page, and — if users like it — they can take an action right then and there. Most companies and partners will prefer this new interface to people’s digital lives over the old status quo of Google.”

As a beta product, You.com is still lacking some important features. Right now, it only supports English language searches and US-focused apps. Also, the site is prioritizing its desktop web experience while it works on mobile optimization.

You can try out You.com either from the website or by installing its Chrome extension. The company also suggests you should switch to the privacy-focused Brave browser.