Neeva, co-founded by ex-Google ad head Sridhar Ramaswamy, to shut down its ad-free search engine on June 2 | Tech News

Neeva, co-founded by ex-Google ad head Sridhar Ramaswamy, to shut down its ad-free search engine on June 2

The promising search engine once touted to give Google Search serious competition, is being shut down.

| Updated on: May 22 2023, 09:05 IST
Neeva offered an ad-free alternative to Google Search. (Neeva)

Neeva, the ad-free search engine, announced on Saturday that it is shutting down its consumer search operations and pivoting to Artificial Intelligence. The company, founded by ex-Google executives Sridhar Ramaswamy and Vivek Raghunathan, revealed its plans to shut down its search engine. Neeva was once touted as a serious competitor to Google Search, offering an ad-free and visual search experience, but has faced challenges in attracting users to its platform, hence the decision.

In a blog post, Neeva's co-founders announced the shutdown. “There is no longer a path towards creating a sustainable business in consumer search. As a result, over the next few weeks, we will be shutting down and our consumer search product, and shifting to a new area of focus,” Ramaswamy and Raghunathan wrote.

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History of Neeva

Neeva was launched in 2019 with Google's head of ad business at the helm. It promised users a more visually appealing search experience along with fewer ads, with Ramaswamy believing that the striking number of ads on search engines was affecting the quality of results. Initially, it offered a subscription-only service and a free tier was added around 6 months later.

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The company had claimed to have built a search stack from the ground up with a team of just 50 people. In the following months, Neeva amassed more than 600,000 users while also expanding operations globally, starting with Europe.

By 2022, Neeva had integrated LLMs into its search stack to keep up with the AI revolution, becoming the first search engine to offer cited and real-time AI answers.

But the plans seem to have eventually failed as the founders revealed,” Contrary to popular belief, convincing users to pay for a better experience was actually a less difficult problem compared to getting them to try a new search engine in the first place.”

Not only just improving search, but the company was also in the process of bringing its standalone generative AI search app called Gist. While it had already been introduced on Android, its iOS launch was scheduled for March but was delayed indefinitely.

Neeva will shut down its operations on June 2 and users who have paid for a subscription will receive a refund for the unused portion of their subscription.

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First Published Date: 22 May, 09:03 IST