Founded by two former Salesforce employees, the You.com search engine opened this week in public beta and announced a $20 million funding round led by Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff.
It’s not the first investment Benioff made an investment in this company.
You.com emerged in early December 2020 through an investment by Benioff. The search engine is spearheaded by former chief scientist at Salesforce Richard Socher, who helped to build the company’s Einstein artificial-intelligence platform -- one of two newly created search engines that want to take on Google.
The service abandons linear lists of links, opting for a grid of answers organized by sources. The sources include generic categories like “web results” and “news,” but also specific sites like StackOverflow, Wikipedia, Twitter, Amazon, LinkedIn, and individual news sites like The New York Times.
Benioff is the one to watch in 2021, as I noted in the 2020 article about You.com. Last week, CNN Business named Benioff the CEO of 2020.
You.com markets the engine as a privacy search tool. It is not supported by ads, and there is an incognito mode that the company claims to hide IP addresses. It promises to never target users with personalized ads.
It does give users an option to rely on preferred sources to rank search results according to preferences. The engine will always serve up a list of all the results that are relevant to the query, whether or not they are the preferred sources.
It’s not entirely clear how You.com will spend the $20 million, but the company says it is working on a mobile app and should release it in a few months. The search engine works on mobile, but is not yet optimized for it.