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Neeva Search Engine by Two IIT Alumni Hopes to Take on Google by Ensuring Ad-Free Results, More Privacy

News18
·2-min read

Neeva is an upcoming search engine developed by two former Google executives, that aims to provide ad-free free search experience and ensure absolute data safety. At the time when the debate around personal data is at its peak, thanks to changes in WhatsApp privacy policy, its creators Sridhar Ramaswamy and Vivek Raghunathan who are also IIT alumni (Chennai and Mumbai, respectively) hope to offer customer-paid and customer-first alternative. Although there are some alternatives to Google Search such as DuckDuckGo, which also promises data safety, Neeva hopes to provide a tailor-made search experience specifically for the end-user. The company is planning to launch the search engine by mid-2021.

Speaking over the development, Neeva CEO Ramaswamy, who was the executive in charge of Google's $115 billion advertising arm, indicates that the ad-model takes over the real-content over time. "There is more and more pressure to show more ads and not really what the user wants. Our thesis is that we can create a much better search product, focusing solely on what a customer needs," he told The Indian Express in an interview. When asked over the exact rollout date, the Ramaswamy adds that in "four-five months," Neeva will release in the US, followed by other regions like Western Europe, Australia and India. The company is currently is allowing keen participants to join their waitlist via the Neeva.co website.

Moreover, the company says that the upcoming search engine will allow users to directly search for personal data stored on services like Dropbox and email accounts. It will use AI and machine learning - similar to Google - to provide a personalised experience; however, it guarantees that "the product and company are designed so that personal data is indexed to serve your results, and for nothing else." Notably, Neeva has also published a 'Bill of Rights' on its website that notes how the company hopes to operate and collect user data. It claims that users' data will not be sold any in any form, adding that search queries would be stored for more than 90 days "while offering you the option to let the company store it longer if that is your choice." Google’s default is 18 months.

Neeva is yet to reveal its subscription plans.