Young people look for search engine alternatives

Last month, a Google exec revealed that Instagram and TikTok are often replacing Google Search for Gen Z, an insight that inspired many, many headlines. And while it’s true that young people are looking to social platforms when looking for tutorials and how-tos, nothing can replace a search engine like, well, a search engine. Today, we’re taking a look at three emerging search startups that seek to revolutionize the way to look for information online.


Unsatisfied with the lack of data transparency found on other search engines, Richard Socher, the former chief scientist at Salesforce, set out to build his own. Enter You, a search engine that not only utilizes AI for better search results but also prioritizes things like privacy, customization, and transparency to improve the user experience overall. It’s a little more technical than most Google alternatives; AI-powered features include YouCode, which allows users to generate code based on search queries, and YouWrite, a writing assistant that can write blog posts and essays. You isn’t a household name just yet, but they could be soon – they just closed a whopping $25 million in funding and saw 70% growth in sign-ups last month alone.


SEO software company Ahrefs recently launched Yep, a new search engine designed with the creator economy in mind. Still in beta, Yep will not collect personal information, nor will it store your search history. Unlike more prominent search engines, search queries will rely only on entered keywords and approximate geographical location based on IP addresses. But Yep’s largest differentiating feature is that it plans to give 90% of ad revenues to creators. The company is still working out the logistics, but the idea is that creators – which, in this case, could be a website, brand, person, or publisher – can sign up for an account and then tag their content, allowing Yep to track clicks and distribute earnings.


Although Heyday doesn’t bill itself as a search engine, the self-dubbed “AI-powered research assistant” has the power to dramatically change the way we search online. Like most good tech products, the magic of Heyday is complex to understand – and even harder to explain. But the gist is that its platform curates a personalized knowledge base by tracking the web pages you visit; the content you consume on apps like Twitter, Slack, and Pocket; and search engine results. It’s a lot of personal data, no doubt, but Heyday encrypts all data, ensuring user privacy.