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Search engine startups try to adopt Google



A group of new search engine startups have positioned themselves as potential competitors of Google, hoping that increasing regulatory pressure will eventually reverse the 20-year dominance of the search giant.

The latest challengers include Neeva, founded by two former Google executives, You.com, founded by the former chief scientist of Salesforce.com, and Mojeek, a UK-based start-up that has ambitious hopes to build its own billions The index page of the dollar.

Although their chances of success are long, everyone believes that there are different opportunities to adopt a new method of handling Google’s familiar links and result lists, which has only been gradually developed in recent years.

They also hope that the recent series of antitrust cases filed by the United States against Google at the state and federal levels may lead to the opening of this area.

You.com CEO Richard Socher said: “Given the scale of industry search, this is surprising in many ways.” You.com CEO Richard Socher left Salesforce’s labor force in July. Intelligent research team.

For most of the past decade, Google̵

7;s share of the global search market has remained above 90%. According to data from Statcounter, which tracks network activity, it is still close to its historical high of more than 92%, followed by Bing (2.9%) and Yahoo (1.5%).

Nevertheless, Google’s long-term competitors such as DuckDuckGo have achieved slow and steady gains. According to Statcounter data, in the past five years, DuckDuckGo’s market share in North America has grown from 0.3% to 1.9%.

In December last year, Apple added Ecosia, a Berlin-based non-profit organization, which uses most of its revenue for tree planting as one of the built-in search options available to users of the Safari browser. This is since Google’s replacement of products. The first new feature is DuckDuckGo in 2014.

“This is the result of years of work,” said Christian Kroll, who founded Ecosia in 2009. “Basically, we spent a lot of time developing the root system, and now this plant is growing.”

Long odds

Although they are outstanding founders, this arduous process shows that You.com and Neeva still have a long way to go.

You.com is funded by Salesforce founder and CEO Marc Benioff (Marc Benioff) and venture capitalist and early Facebook supporter Jim Breyer (Jim Breyer). It positions itself as “a trusted search engine that summarizes the Internet for you.” Mr. Socher bet that advances in artificial intelligence can be applied to search in more novel ways than Google has tried.

He said: “I hope to see more trust, more facts, and to some extent more friendliness on the Internet.” “These three values ​​are the cornerstones of our new search engine, which is Some aspects are more private, more trusted and more convenient.”

You.com is still in private testing. Although Mr. Socher does not rule out the opportunity to display ads, he has not yet revealed how he plans to make money.

The most fundamental difference between its rival startup Neeva and Google Playbook is that it charges for subscriptions, promises to reduce advertising and provide greater privacy.

Bill Coughran (Bill Coughran), a former Google executive who is now a Neeva investor in venture capital firm Sequoia Capital, believes that former employers’ reliance on advertising is the biggest weakness. He said: “The biggest problem is that you start to see more and more ads, and it becomes more and more complicated to let users understand what an ad is and what is not an ad.”

Neeva has raised $37.5 million in funding and has combined the results of user emails and other personal online information with the desire to obtain higher-quality online results in specific areas, such as product searches.

Sridhar Ramaswamy, Google’s former head of advertising and co-founder of Neeva, said: “Our vision for search engines is very different.”

As Google faces a wave of regulatory complaints, these two new joint ventures have emerged. Google faces two state-led antitrust lawsuits and a federal case in the United States involving monopolistic behavior by critics such as Yelp.

Its potential competitors hope that they can create new opportunities simply by distracting Google’s lawsuits or limiting its ability to release new products.

“For us, I think antitrust laws will help,” Mr. Socher said. “It depends on how it is implemented.” But he added: “I don’t think antitrust laws will create satisfied users and customers-in the end, you have to create amazing experiences.”

In the past 10 years, several potential Google competitors have tried and failed to do this. Cuil, founded by two former Google engineers, raised $33 million and built its own index, involving more than 120 billion pages. But because users complained about the quality of its results, it shut down in 2010 after running for less than two years.

Kroll said: “Now, regulators will pay more attention to Google, I hope this unfair practice will disappear, which will help competition.” “If you are a small search engine, it is actually difficult to obtain Technology, gaining visibility and access to those very rare locations in the browser.”

Winning these default search positions usually requires a certain price, such as sharing advertising revenue, although Kroll declined to comment on the new deal with Apple.

Another competitor

Apple itself seems to be establishing its own alternative to Google, increasing its web crawling activity, and processing more queries from the iPhone’s home screen through its search system.

Most of Google’s competitors, including Neeva, DuckDuckGo and Ecosia, have obtained their web indexing license from Microsoft’s Bing. But Mojeek hopes to establish its own index to be truly independent.

Colin Hayhurst, CEO of Mojeek, said: “We are the only real search engine that cannot track you.”

Mojeek’s team consists of seven employees and has a capital of 2.3 million pounds, most of which comes from an investor. It has collected and compiled an index of 3.6 billion pages. It hopes to reach $6 billion by the end of 2021, although it is a far cry from Google’s hundreds of billions.

Mr. Hayhurst suggested that other search engines that claim to provide greater privacy still send some data back to Bing. He said: “Most search engines are not real engines, but chassis.” “You can say they are pawns in the Google-Microsoft war.”

So far, regulators’ efforts to win the search market have been difficult. Stanford University (Stanford University) professor Michael Ostrovsky said that Google has been fined $5 billion for imposing illegal restrictions on smartphone manufacturers, an Android launched by the European Commission in 2019. The selection screen” auction has not had much impact yet.

His recently published paper on Google’s operating process provides new Android users with a variety of search options and found flaws in the auction design. He found that it tends to favor the obscure companies that are the most active in terms of user profitability, rather than user-approved names such as DuckDuckGo or Ecosia, so it may choose to replace Google’s name.

He said: “It is clear that the auction currently designed has failed to achieve its goals.” “The important thing is not so specific supervision, but to know where the regulator is and draw attention.”


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