Neeva is shutting down its ads-free search engine
Neeva beat Google and Microsoft in launching generative AI search with citations. But the ad-free search engine didn't attract enough users.
Neeva will shut down June 2. The ad-free search engine launched less than two years ago.
Neeva’s failure was due to its inability to attract enough users, the rise of generative AI and LLMs and the current economic environment, according to the company’s founders, Sridhar Ramaswamy and Vivek Raghunathan.
Sridhar Ramaswamy statement. Ramaswamy tweeted the following:
“This was a very tough decision that took into account lots of things: our business progress so far, the current funding environment and our ability to continue to grow quickly in this vastly changed search environment. We are incredibly proud of what we have accomplished: building a search engine from scratch with a tiny team of fifty people and releasing the world’s first LLM powered answer engine that produced reliable citations.”
Why we care. Neeva’s search market share was tiny, but it offered an alternative to Google, which is always a good thing. Unfortunately, as has been the case with most Google alternatives – including Microsoft’s Bing – it’s nearly impossible to get people to break free of their Google habit.
History of Neeva. The search engine was founded in 2019, but it wouldn’t be until June 2020 we first reported on the new search engine. Neeva would be 100% free of advertising and subscription-supported. Neeva also said it wouldn’t track users, with personalization being done without data mining.
Ramaswamy believed the quality and usefulness of Google’s search results had been compromised by the focus on ad revenue. Their mission was to “take search back to its users.”
Neeva launched in the U.S. in June 2021, charging users $4.95 a month. In an attempt to expand its user base in 2022, Neeva began offering a free basic subscription.
In January of this year, the company announced NeevaAI, a generative AI search product that answered queries with summaries and citations – beating both Microsoft’s New Bing launch (announced Feb. 7) and Google’s Search Generative Experience (still hasn’t launched publicly).
Read the announcement. Next Steps for Neeva.
Post-script. Neeva was acquired by Snowflake, a cloud data platform, on May 24. Read the announcement: Snowflake acquires Neeva to accelerate search in the Data Cloud through generative AI