You.com, an AI-powered open source search engine, launches in beta with $20M in funding led by Salesforce CEO Mark Benioff (Kyle Wiggers/VentureBeat)

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You.com, which bills itself as the world’s first open search engine, today announced its public beta launch along with $20 million in funding led by Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff with participation from Breyer Capital, Sound Ventures, Day One Ventures, and others. The company says that the funds, will be put toward user growth, product, and technology as You.com scales its platform to new users on the public web.

As the economy moves online, it’s You.com’s assertion that the internet is becoming more centralized and controlled by a few powerful, ill-meaning tech corporations. By contrast, You.com cofounder and CEO, Richard Socher, claims that the company uses technology to help people “live better and more productive lives.”

“I had the original idea [for You.com] eight and a half years ago,” Socher told VentureBeat via email. “Today, there’s too much information, and no one has time to read it, process it, or know what to trust. [A] single gatekeeper controls the vast majority of the search market, dictating what you see: too many advertisements and a flood of search-engine-optimized pages … On top of that, 65% of search queries end without a click on another site, which means traffic stays within the Google ecosystem.”

Founded in 2020 by Socher and Bryan McCann, You.com leverages natural language processing (NLP) — a form of AI — to understand search queries, rank the results, and semantically parse the queries into different languages, including programming languages. The platform summarizes results from across the web and is extensible with built-in search apps so that users can complete tasks without leaving the results page.

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