Search engine Neeva promises privacy for a fee: Google alternative explained


Would you be willing to fork over some cash for a search engine that promises private, ad-free browsing experience? This is precisely what the creators of the new search engine Neeva are betting on.

Created by former Google executives, Neeva promises a personalized browsing experience while blocking trackers and protecting your data, all for the price of two black coffees. Let’s take a look at the Neeva search engine and if it is a valid alternative to Google.

What is Neeva?

Why would someone spend their hard earned money on a search engine? Neeva co-founder Sridhar Ramaswamy explained the logic behind charging users a fee for using Neeva in this way:

… what we’ve learned over the past ten years is that if a product is free then you are the product.

So what is Neeva? Neeva is a search engine much like Google, Bing, and Yahoo. However, unlike other search engines, when you use Neeva you know that they are not selling your profile to advertisers for profit.

Related: Google Chrome Knows Too Much About You

Neeva tracks your searches, but only to personalize and improve your search results. Neeva also has an incognito mode, or you can permanently turn off all tracking in settings if you prefer not to be tracked at all.

For $ 4.95 per month you have access to Neeva’s search engine, including her Search + Protect browser extension. You won’t have to start paying right away. Neeva grants you free access to her service for three months if you complete a series of quests, which consist of completing Neeva’s introductory tour, connecting an app, and creating your first space.

Three-month free trial of Neeva

A credit card is not required to register for the three-month trial period. You can therefore test the service without any conditions to determine if it is right for you.

An ad-free search experience

Neeva’s main selling point is its ad-free experience. Indeed, one of the first things you notice when using Neeva is the lack of ads at the top of your search results.

Neeva research results

In contrast, when you search using Google, the ads are the first things you see. In fact, it is difficult to distinguish ads from search results when using Google.

Google Nintendo Switch search results

It’s not just in Neeva’s search results that you’ll notice a difference. When you open a news article using Neeva, no targeted ads follow you. The Neeva interface is clean, giving you an unhindered browsing experience.

How private and secure is Neeva?

Neeva outlines its position on internet security in the Digital Bill of Rights on its website. The search engine works on the basis of these principles to provide private and secure browsing to its users. For example, Neeva’s Search + Protect browser extension for Chrome, Firefox, Safari, or other browsers prevents trackers from following you while you are surfing the web.

For more privacy, you can use Neeva’s incognito mode. Although Neeva blocks trackers and does not sell your data to advertisers, it does collect some of your data. By default, Neeva keeps your search history and interactions for 90 days.

Browse the web in private browsing mode Neeva

Neeva says she collects this information to improve your experience and give you the most relevant search results. You can deactivate data collection from Neeva in the settings. You can also clear your search history at any time.

Although Neeva promises to protect your privacy, the search engine collects a lot of data, including:

• Information of connected accounts

• Information about the contacts that you connect to your account

• IP address, location data, cookies

• How you use their services

You can control much of the data that Neeva collects about you, but not all of it. While Neeva says she won’t take advantage of your personal information, the platform shares it with service providers who work on their behalf.

When it comes to security, you can enable two-step verification to prevent unauthorized access to your account. Neeva also encrypts all your data and its employees are not authorized to view your personal information.

Custom search results

Neeva offers many ways for users to personalize their search experience. For example, you can connect your Gmail account and other apps to Neeva, which allows you to combine search results from various sources.

You can find the search results of your connected apps under the Staff tongue. Neeva currently supports the following third-party applications: Google, Office 365, Slack, Github, Notion and Dropbox.

You can customize the news displayed on your home page by choosing the news sources you want Neeva to display. However, one limitation is that you can only add news sources from Neeva’s predetermined list.

Users have no way to add their own news sources. If your favorite news source isn’t listed, you can suggest it and wait for them to add it.

Screenshot of Neeva's favorite news source

You can create Neeva Spaces to organize topics of interest into bookmarks to help you stay organized. You can also follow topics of interest such as stocks, and they will appear on your home page.

Information from multiple sources

Although the company has indexed billions of pages, Neeva’s search results pull information from multiple sources, including Bing, Yelp, Apple, and others. In addition to giving you the option to link your Google account, you will find that Neeva also integrates Google Maps into its search results.

In some ways, the Neeva experience mirrors the Google experience, but without ads. For example, if you are shopping, Neeva will help you make an informed decision by showing search results from reputable websites and with reviews from verified customers.

If you’re a foodie, Neeva also gives you a convenient way to quickly find the recipes you want. You can use Neeva’s filters to organize recipe search results by rating, number of ingredients and cooking time.

Is Neeva worth paying for?

If privacy is your thing and you want to support efforts to stop big tech from tracking people across the internet, Neeva is worth it. For your money, you get a clean search engine with lots of customization options that provide a very similar experience to Google without the ads and trackers.

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