Why do we need another search engine when there is the omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient Google, so much so that people have started to call it Google Baba? Despite this, a battle began to face Goliath with the launch of YOU (www.vous.com).
Richard Socher and Bryan McCann are experts in artificial intelligence and co-founders of YOU. Socher says his search engine runs on “more confidence in clicks and less bait for clicks,” in a sharp dig by Google.
Who are Google’s real customers? The real customers are the advertisers. We, the information seekers, are the products as well as the consumers. Google’s dominance hurts both advertisers and users. It controls the advertising market through its affiliate companies such as Android phones, YouTube and Google Maps and we fall victim to click traps.
As advertisers compete for advertising on Google, other search engines such as DuckDuckGo are left out and our personal data is being harvested.
In addition, there is an overdose of information and you just cannot process everything. Anyone can post an article on the Internet and it is impossible to know whether this information is correct or not. This is having a big impact on society and today we are seeing a wave of disinformation and false information making the rounds on social media.
YOU want to change all of that and give people control over the information they consume.
For starters, the interface is different. Google, as well as other search engines, have their links listed one below the other and there are multiple pages of each search result. This is not the case with YOU. The information is presented in a grid and is organized by the source which includes generic categories such as “web results” and “news” and also includes quick facts from sites such as Wikipedia or Twitter.
The big change is that people can influence the sources of results displayed by using positive or negative votes (arrows pointing up or down) next to categories so that your favorite category is displayed first and the category with voted negative is displayed last.
The interface encourages looking at a range of sources rather than clicking on the first ones. It also gives meaningful summaries for users.
When I searched for “Farmers Protest India,” first the news results which were mostly relevant newspaper content and several articles. A Google search also gives the same kind of result, but due to the grid layout you tend to browse more summaries than in Google.
Next comes more analytical news such as published in AP and BBC, Quartz and Axios. Most interesting was the title Quick Facts which gave a very relevant summary of Wikipedia that I might have forgotten in Google.
The search engine uses built-in applications from sites like BBC News to make it easier to choose the type of content you want to see.
If you want to make YOU your default search engine, the easiest way is to install the Chrome extension. Go to www.vous.com and click on the blue band that says “Make you.com your default”. This will take you to the Chrome Web Store from where you can install the extension. Oddly enough, if you go directly to the Chrome Web Store and search for the extension, it doesn’t show up.
If you don’t like extensions or don’t want to make them your default search engine, go to www.vous.com and type anything in the search bar. I advise you to register for YOU from the icon at the top right.
YOU points out that the search engine is absolutely private and that there is no tracking because it is not supported by ads. It never stores your queries, preferences, or location. There is a private mode that even hides your IP address. You’ll find it on the top left where your name is displayed after you log in.
Try this new search engine. You will like the way it sums up your results and gives you relevant content.
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