Google has long been the leader in search, and while it’s free, you have to deal with things like ads and tracking. Now a new search engine named Neeva bet people will pay for a more private, ad-free experience.
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“When the product is free… we are actually the product,” explained Neeva co-founder and former Googler Sridhar Ramaswamy. We spoke via Skype about his new search engine and his years at Google, where he was a top advertising executive.
“I think Neeva is less in competition with Google and more that it offers an alternative to people,” Ramaswamy said.
Neeva has no advertising and no more confidentiality. It always follows what you are looking for, but only to improve results. If you want, you can turn off tracking completely in settings.
“None of your information is sold to advertisers,” Ramaswamy said.
Neeva is charging users $ 4.95 per month to use the search engine, which we are certainly not used to. However, we’ve gotten used to paying for things like Spotify, Netflix, and in-app purchases.
“The competition is good… the choice is good, so while you’re not that skeptical of Google… I think it’s a good thing Neeva is doing this,” said Harry McCracken, editor. chief technology officer at Fast Company.
He profiled Neeva for their launch.
In the end, it will likely depend on the results of the research. During my week of testing I found that Neeva’s results are actually quite good. They’re simpler than Google’s and there are no ads anywhere, making the results a bit easier to filter out.
Although I’ve changed my default search engine to Neeva for now, I find myself doing the same searches on Google just to make sure I don’t miss anything important. Also, I miss some of Google’s built-in features like Maps and all the information it has about me that makes my results more personalized.
Neeva says they are constantly improving their results and especially local results, which sort of seems nonexistent at the moment.
They also have some unique features, like the ability to customize your news preferences, a way to tag results in what they call spaces (handy for planning a trip), and you can combine search results from various services. online, including your email, Google Drive and Dropbox.
Personally, I’m not ready to allow Neeva to index all of my most personal information in these places, but I like the idea of a single search box to control them all. I’m surprised Google doesn’t offer this option because so many people using search also have Gmail and Drive.
Bottom line, it’s worth checking out Neeva. They give new users a generous free trial of at least three months, and you can earn more free months by doing things like taking a tour of their features.
“By being the customer first and paid by the customers, we can focus on what you need,” Ramaswamy concluded.
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