You.com targets Google and Microsoft with multimodal chat search • businessupdates.org

by Ana Lopez

you.com founder Richard Socher knows his company has always been a David going after the Goliath in search, Google and to a lesser extent Microsoft. He likes to point out that his company built a search function based on generative AI in December, several months before the other giant quest players made their announcements.

Today, the company is announcing that it is taking that lead and building on it with multimodal search. That means it can add elements outside of the text to more accurately answer a question. So say you ask a question like “Which company has the most CRM market share,” you get the answer “Salesforce,” and if you follow up with “What is Saleforce’s share price?”, you get a stock chart instead . of a text-based answer.

Socher says this is a big step forward for chat-based search, giving his company an edge over its much larger competitors. “Instead of making up a bunch of numbers, which any other language model would do, we’ll just show you our stock app during the call,” Socher told businessupdates.org.

He believes this is a much more effective way of answering those kinds of questions and that these different modalities can be applied to other questions depending on the context. “It’s a big step forward in making large language models multimodal in the sense that the different modalities are text, but also code, but also tables, and also graphs and images and interactive elements – and sometimes that’s the best way to answer your question. I do believe this is a better way to represent the answer to this question than any text,” he said.

Search You.com involving CRM vendors showing a stock chart as part of the results.

You.com displays charts or other elements when it helps answer a question better than text. Image Credits: you.com

You.com launched at the end of 2020 with the belief that there was room for another search engine, more based on AI. That’s an idea that has caught up with the search market, but Socher sees room for a new approach, one that the incumbents can’t offer.

As he told businessupdates.org at the time of his company’s $25 million funding round last summer, he wants You.com to be the anti-Google:

“Google is a monolithic, monopolistic search engine that closed and ended up using AI against users to serve its true purpose: advertising. We are building You.com as a search platform that is open and emphasizes serving user needs directly with You.com apps rather than bombarding people with ads,” he told businessupdates.org’s Kyle Wiggers at the time.

Socher is currently hesitant to discuss the technology behind his company’s search, worried that his competitors could use it against him, but he says at some point he will reveal the secret sauce he uses to make his company’s search solution build.

“We don’t really share how we built it at this point. I know a lot of people are super curious about how we build all these things. But many people try to copy what we do. And it just doesn’t make sense until we’re at least live or profitable as a startup by default to share all of our technology, or even high-level or details of how we do something,” he said.

He says the company is showing double-digit growth every month and millions of people are now using the site every day. They’re still considering how to make money, but it won’t be like Google or Bing.

“We don’t need to make $500 million a day. We don’t have that pressure as a startup right now. But we will think about monetization this year and we will try to explore different avenues,” he said. That includes private ads, subscriptions to various add-ons, such as an add-on that helps users write essays and blog posts for a few dollars a week, and they can also open the platform to build third-party apps, such as the stock app that displays a stock chart.

“You can allow that third-party app to just sell a service, and if that’s relevant to the user, and the user wants to buy whatever that company sells, then we get a cut of that. So it’s sort of making money at the end of the funnel rather than the beginning of the funnel, and that’s what ads do,” he said.

He certainly understands that he is facing some formidable competition, but he believes You.com has found a way to differentiate itself from its competitors.

“It’s certainly a tough space to compete in, and you have to build something that’s both unique and different, but at the same time good enough to capture most of the things people currently want from their search engine,” he said.

“And that’s what we’ve done, and it’s part of the reason why we’re now able to grow and provide a fresh new look at what a search engine can or should be able to help you with.”

Related Posts