Product Hunt Weekly Digest

The battle for search

Earlier this year, you met a new search engine that’s challenging Google’s monopoly over search. Neeva wasn’t the first to take on Goliath, but the startup introduced a cohort of newcomers in the space that want to make the competition more… competitive.

You.com is here now too and battle-ready. It just launched the public beta of its new private search engine that summarizes the web.

Co-founders Richard Socher and Bryan McCann are AI experts. Socher is the fifth most-cited Natural Language Processing (NLP) researcher in the world. He was most recently a chief scientist at Salesforce, where he helped build Einstein AI after joining the team when Salesforce acquired his AI company, MetaMind.

Tech experts are pointing out that Google is feeling the heat under antitrust scrutiny — some would like to regulate the company’s monopoly on the market. That might make this a good time for competitors in that space, they say.

While that might be true, Socher is more focused on AI. In an article for Product Hunt, he wrote about how he believes there’s no better time to launch a new search engine:

“Without the surge of deep learning, unsupervised, semi-supervised and transfer learning, it would have been impossible for a small company like ours to build an entirely new search engine experience, from scratch.”

Socher also explained the many reasons why he finds Google’s dominance so concerning, for both users and businesses. One issue points to how Google serves as a gatekeeper to content.

“It keeps the bulk of search traffic to itself — nearly 65% of searches worldwide in the fourth quarter of 2020 were "zero-click," ending without that traffic going to another website… I predict the trend of zero-click searches will only increase, and ads will continue to proliferate in the search results.”

In addition to its web summaries, You.com offers “superior” (and optional) privacy choices, personalization, and 100+ apps that make relevant content readily available. For example, you can search Reddit, Quora, Stack Overflow, and Medium with a single query to explore one topic from different angles.

The startup is backed by Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff who’s leading a $20M funding round, and counts support from techies like Justin Kan, who hunted today’s launch.

What do you think of the new Google search competitor?

To search summaries
FIGJAM MEETS NOTION

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CAT NIPS
  • Apple introduced its Business Essentials service, offering small businesses a subscription solution for device management, support, and cloud storage — a progression from their acquisition of Fleetsmith last year
  • Patreon co-founder, Jack Conte's new podcast, The Creator Economy, is live with its first episode
  • Lunar Lite adds slides to your menu bar to dim the brightness of monitors, wireless displays, iPad Sidecar, and AirPlay