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You.com Raises $25 Million to Tackle Google’s Dominance in Search

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“Why doesn’t Google just build this? »

  • This question has been asked of entrepreneurs by venture capitalists so often that it has become a cliché. But not when asked to Richard Socher, the former Salesforce chief scientist who founded a web search startup called You.com.

Driving News: You.com today announced a $25 million Series A funding round led by Radical Ventures.

  • This follows a $20 million seed round last fall led by Marc Benioff’s Time Ventures. Other backers of the new transaction include Breyer Capital, Norwest Venture Partners and Day One Ventures.

How it works : You.com, a domain that has never been used by a business before, looks a lot like Google at first glance. Sparse page with a giant search bar.

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  • Its results, however, are organized differently and can be customized by adding applications in areas such as news (Axios is in there) or code (Stack Overflow, etc.).
  • You.com also doesn’t currently have ads, although Socher says it could eventually follow the DuckDuckGo model of “private ads” where the advertiser doesn’t learn about users and can’t track them. on the Web.
  • Another monetization option could be with premium apps or other services. Especially for developers – what Socher calls “professional researchers” – with You.com features including an AI code completion feature and GitHub results.

OK, so back to this question: If You.com is getting major traction, why won’t Google just take its best features and smash it?

Socher acknowledges pushing against a rock, but believes the search giant is vulnerable. And not just among privacy-conscious developers.

  • First, he thinks Google has gotten too big to move quickly.
  • Second, there could be new government regulations and/or antitrust actions. He has already been questioned by the Department of Justice, expects the EU’s ‘choice filter’ rule to provide tailwinds and says there would even be indirect benefits to a break in the law. high level of “invasion of privacy outside of research”.
  • One thing he is sure to have told the DOJ is that Chrome has subtle ways of redirecting users to the default Google search, even after installing a rival search extension like You.com.
  • Finally, he says that Google itself proved the value of an open platform when it bought and built Android, to compete with Apple’s dominant iPhone ecosystem.

The conclusion: You.com is a top-tier startup with vast reward potential. Or, as Google might put it, a moonshot.

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