An ex Google exec is preparing to take on his former employer with a new privacy-friendly search engine that launches today across Europe.
Sridhar Ramaswamy worked at Google for 16 years and ran its ad business. He then left to create Neeva in 2021. It has 600,000 users in the US, and today it launches in the UK, France and Germany.
Neeva offers a freemium model and will launch first as a private, ad-free free basic service. In the coming months it will introduce a premium subscription model with access to additional features such as a VPN and password manager.
According to the BBC the UK price is likely to be about £5 per month.
Neeva is not the first company to take on Google with a privacy-first search model. Others include DuckDuckGo, which has an estimated 0.64 per cent of the global market. It makes money on a simple ad model related to searches (as did Google when it first launched). Other notable market entrants include Startpage and Qwant.
Ramaswamy said: “Neeva is a user-first platform focused on private, transparent searches versus a search engine serving advertisers. The internet should be your private corner of the web instead of a barrage of ads, SEO spam and irrelevant information. We’re reinventing search by giving users control over sources; providing accurate and transparent results as well as private and customized experiences without the influence of corporate bias, tracked around the web.”