You.com, a pioneering search engine startup based in San Francisco, CA, announced today the launch of YouChat 2.0, a groundbreaking new “multimodal conversational AI” system that promises to take the internet search experience to a whole new level. This update marks a significant step forward in the evolution of web search and offers a glimpse into the future of how we interact with information and the internet.
Conversational AI powers You.com search
YouChat 2.0 is the first web search that combines advanced conversational AI with community-built apps, offering a unique and interactive experience with each query. With its blended large language model known as C-A-L (Chat, Apps and Links), YouChat 2.0 is able to serve up charts, images, videos, tables, graphs, text or code embedded in its responses to user queries. That means fewer tabs open and less drifting away from your search engine.
“We already have 150+ apps in our main search results page, but we’re now pulling more into the chat world and into this chat interface, which is non-trivial because you basically have to allow the chat model to decide when is best to answer a question by just showing you the facts,” said You.com co-founder and CEO Richard Socher in an interview with VentureBeat. “No one has done this yet — we’re the first to launch it to the world publicly.”
Socher knows a thing or two about groundbreaking advances in natural language processing (NLP), the technology that underpins all popular search engines. According to Google Scholar, Socher is currently the fourth most cited researcher in the field. As a former chief scientist (and EVP) at Salesforce and former adjunct professor at Stanford’s computer science department, Socher has built his career on novel NLP applications. He now thinks it’s time to reimagine the way we interact with traditional search engines.
“Google has done incredible research and propelled the field forward in many dimensions in terms of its research, but they are making $150 billion a year by invading your privacy and showing you ads on a search results page,” Socher said, appearing visibly frustrated with the current state of affairs. “So when you develop technology, that would work great if, instead of six ads you had one ad, but [if] it means you lose $500 million a day, you’re probably not incentivized to launch that new technology into the world.”
“It’s the classic innovator’s dilemma,” he added. “Google is very good at running things not profitably for a long time, like Maps and YouTube, and then pulling ads into it. The problem is this particular technology changes their core product.”
A new breed of search engine
The announcement of You.com’s multimodal conversational AI in search comes just one week after Microsoft unveiled a major overhaul of its Bing search engine to incorporate AI advances. Similarly, Google debuted a chat service last week called Bard that appears to be its answer to conversational models such as ChatGPT. Now, at least one thing is abundantly clear: Conversational AI is reaching peak hype.
“Microsoft has less to lose than Google, and it’s making money in other areas that could help support their AI efforts,” said Socher. “They have also announced plans to launch a new text-only chat interface, similar to ChatGPT, which is what You.com launched last year.”
YouChat 2.0, the update that rolls out today to the existing YouChat conversation portal that launched in December, elevates the internet search experience in several key dimensions.
First, search results now include integrated generative AI apps that allow users to create content directly within the search results, including writing text, coding, and generating images.
Second, YouChat 2.0 offers a rich visual experience, blending the power of chat with up-to-date information and dynamic content from apps such as Reddit, TikTok, StackOverflow, Wikipedia and more.
Finally, the system provides users with accurate information and cites sources, providing a level of trust and reliability that is often lacking in conventional search engines.
Despite some remaining issues with language model biases, You.com is also taking concrete steps to increase the trust and reliability of its conversational search.
The company invites developers to submit apps to its open platform and work together to create the ultimate chat-search-do engine. Developers can learn more at You.com’s developers page.
“We see that users are looking for more than just links,” said Socher in a statement. “They are searching for solutions to their problems. We’ve designed YouChat 2.0 to be the ultimate search tool that empowers users to accomplish more, better and faster. With its advanced generative AI capabilities, YouChat 2.0 evolves traditional search engine functions while giving users greater control over their information diet, and privacy.”
YouChat is available now and already serving about one million searches per day, providing a new level of convenience and flexibility to those who are looking for information and solutions online. If you’re curious about the future of the internet and where things are going — we’d encourage you to check it out.