Search engine: Neeva competes with Google with ad-free search

The US Internet search engine Neeva is now competing against Google in Germany with a service without advertising and tracking.

Search engine: Neeva competes with Google with ad-free search

The US Internet search engine Neeva is now competing against Google in Germany with a service without advertising and tracking. The California-based company, founded in 2019 by two former Google top executives, launched its service in Europe on Thursday. The new search engine can search for information on the Internet as well as for personal files such as e-mails and other documents.

Neeva does not display any advertising and does not collect any user data, company co-founder Sridhar Ramaswam told the German Press Agency. Ramaswam was the head of Google's $115 billion advertising division until 2017. Neeva was founded by Vivek Raghunathan, who was previously YouTube's vice president of monetization for the video platform.

In addition to a free basic version, Neeva's business model includes a paid premium subscription that costs the equivalent of just under five euros a month and offers additional services such as a password manager or a VPN service for anonymous web browsing. In Europe, however, only the free version will initially be offered.

Neeva uses its own index

The expansion of business activities into the European market was made possible by a second round of financing in 2021 of over US$77.5 million. Investors include well-known venture capitalists such as Sequoia Capital, Greylock Ventures, Inovia Capital and Neythri Futures Fund.

Neeva has created its own search index of billions of websites and prefers the sites known for quality content in the search results. In addition, community platforms such as Reddit play a greater role in search results than Google. "These don't necessarily have to be pages that generate a lot of clicks, because ideally an answer is provided directly," said Ramaswam. In addition, Neeva allows users to access personally used apps such as email, Dropbox, Slack, Figma and others and allows private searches in their own documents.

Ramaswamy said Google dominates the search engine market with a share of over 90 percent. "Neeva will challenge that supremacy by creating a better search and browsing experience that will delight users." At the same time, he admitted that his company is currently a niche player. However, Neeva does not need billions in sales to offer customers a high-quality service.

The biggest challenge is not the quality of the search results or the financing of the company. "It's the lack of choices." Users are not actively informed that there are viable alternatives to the offers of the big players. Regulatory authorities should focus primarily on this aspect.

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