WWW… Wednesday! You
by Taylor Slattery | March 22, 2022
You is a privacy-first search engine that aims to not only protect your information, but to change the way you browse the web entirely. Taking the time-tested, top-down format for result delivery established by giants like Google and Yahoo, You turns convention on its side. Offering perhaps the first major challenge to the established search engine conventions in nearly two decades, You offers a user experience that feels more like a productivity tool than a search engine—and that’s the point.
The first thing you’ll notice about You is its layout. By placing search results in horizontal rows of content-rich modules rather than top-down lists of hyperlinks, You makes it possible to browse different categories of results without having to search through pages individually. Not only does this cut down on the back and forth of checking the viability of sources, but it makes cross-referencing easier as well. Users can delve fairly deep into results from a variety of individual sources without leaving the larger context of the search as a whole.
This big-picture approach to searching the web helps users to not only find what they’re looking for faster, but also to understand the results more comprehensively. These source-specific modules, referred to as ‘apps’, are at the core of what makes You unique. By adding and removing apps, users can custom-tailor their search results to reflect their interests, habits, and needs. Currently, You has over 100 apps that cover every major corner of the web. In addition to the standard fare like videos and images, users can add apps for their favorite news sources, streaming services, social media platforms, and more. The order the apps appear in is also customizable, so users can place their preferred sources higher on the page to further cut down on scrolling.
The differences between You and other search engines aren’t just cosmetic, either. Another one of You’s central tenets is privacy. You doesn’t sell user data to advertisers, so there’s a refreshing absence of targeted ads. In fact—there aren’t any ads at all. This will likely change in the future as investors influence the company’s direction, but for the time being, you can enjoy a completely ad-free search experience on the house. As an added bonus for those environmentally-conscious users, You is also a carbon-neutral company so if you don’t find You’s sideways proposition to be particularly compelling, you can at least use it with the peace of mind knowing you’re helping to save the planet.
Taylor is the Managing Editor of Notes on Design. Taylor is a graphic designer, illustrator, and Design Lead at Weirdsleep.