While the new Bing powered by GPT and its ChatGPT-like features are dominating the headlines, it wasn’t the first search engine to include a chatbot feature. Back in December 2022 You.com, a search engine developed by former Salesforce employees, launched YouChat — its own chat assistant for search.
Since then, You.com has launched YouChat 2.0, an updated version of its chatbot search assistant. You.com touts YouChat’s benefits as its up-to-date training and its language model C-A-L.
C-A-L stands for conversations, apps and links, which are the sources from which C-A-L is trained. In essence, C-A-L is to YouChat 2.0 what GPT-3.5 is to ChatGPT. It was the integration of You.com apps in particular that caught my attention, as the idea that you could integrate You.com apps for sites like Reddit and YouTube to work within the search chatbot’s functionality would be a big step forward. Getting context from Wikipedia, Reddit and other apps in addition to the ability to create AI art within the chatbot’s user interface were features that the new Bing simply doesn’t match.
But, as we’ve seen with ChatGPT, Bing and Google Bard, these chatbot AIs have produced some mixed results — if not sometimes flat-out inaccurate. So I decided to not only put You.com’s YouChat 2.0 to the test but compare it against the new GPT-powered Bing. Here’s what I found.
Putting You.com and Bing’s AI-powered chatbots to the test
Given that prior to this, I had no experience with You.com, I decided a good place to start would be asking YouChat 2.0 and Bing “What is you.com.” Both came back with a result to the effect of “You.com is a privacy-focused search engine” though there were some differences in the speed and context with which they responded.
YouChat 2.0’s response showed off some of its app-based features right away, including a Wikipedia entry for You.com after the chatbot’s response. I also liked that the traditional search results were displayed in the user interface for the chatbot — Bing requires you to leave the chat window and go back into the search results. Plus, it was interesting to see that You.com’s YouChat 2.0 did get its results faster, given that other testers such as our own Alex Wawro have found the Bing chatbot to be a bit on the slow side.
However, there were still some things that Bing did better. For starters, while its AI-powered chatbot was slower, it did cite noticeably more websites in its response. Because of this, I ironically felt that I knew more about You.com after reading the Bing chatbot’s response rather than YouChat’s response. Bing also suggested follow-up questions to learn more, which was more conversational than YouChat 2.0’s response.
I decided to take advantage of that last Bing feature and asked both chatbots the follow-up question “What is multimodal chat search.” The results of this query were similar to the results of the previous query, with both search chatbots coming back with a response that boiled down to multimodal chat search being a chat-based search method that incorporates multiple types of inputs.
And again, the pros and cons of both AI chatbots were similar, though with one notable change on each side. This time, YouChat 2.0 did not have an app that provided additional context, whereas Bing surprisingly did. Bing’s chatbot included a newsbox with news search results about multimodal chat search — a surprising change of pace from Bing
Final test: Can AI chatbots help make a pizza?
After two rounds of testing, the results were about even. So I decided to throw an entirely new problem at YouChat 2.0 and the new Bing: What is the best way to make a pizza?
Despite being the slower of the two chatbots, the clear winner here was Bing’s GPT-powered chatbot. It cited notably more sources and presented the response in an easier-to-consume format. YouChat 2.0 did flash its app-integration trick again this time, but unfortunately, the Allrecipes app produced a recipe for “Pinwheel Italian calzones.” And anyone who has ever wanted a pizza will tell you, a calzone doesn’t cut it no matter how you slice it.
Outlook: YouChat 2.0 isn’t a game changer — yet
After spending some time with both search engine chatbots, I could easily see the potential for You.com’s YouChat 2.0. The app integration is great for providing context — when it works. Unfortunately, YouChat 2.0 did not always find a way to integrate an app result and even when it did it wasn’t always the result you needed.
So for now, the new Bing is probably the best AI-powered search engine chatbot out there, even if it is a bit on the slower side and doesn’t always get things right. While I didn’t notice any glaring errors in my testing for this face-off, we recently asked the GPT-powered Bing to write a Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra review and it got a ton wrong. Still, it's definitely a tool worth checking out, so make sure you check out our guide to getting access to the new Bing as well as our guide on how to use the new Bing with ChatGPT before giving it a spin.
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Malcolm McMillan is a senior writer for Tom's Guide, covering all the latest in streaming TV shows and movies. That means news, analysis, recommendations, reviews and more for just about anything you can watch, including sports! If it can be seen on a screen, he can write about it. Previously, Malcolm had been a staff writer for Tom's Guide for over a year, with a focus on artificial intelligence (AI), A/V tech and VR headsets.
Before writing for Tom's Guide, Malcolm worked as a fantasy football analyst writing for several sites and also had a brief stint working for Microsoft selling laptops, Xbox products and even the ill-fated Windows phone. He is passionate about video games and sports, though both cause him to yell at the TV frequently. He proudly sports many tattoos, including an Arsenal tattoo, in honor of the team that causes him to yell at the TV the most.