When a business like Google holds more than 90% of the market share for search engines, it has always looked nearly difficult for any rival to entice people away from the company. But in recent years, the tide has begun to turn. People are now searching for alternatives because Google consistently fails to protect users’ privacy and uses their search engine data for the sole purpose of bombarding them with advertisements. To meet that demand, organizations like DuckDuckGo and Brave have already launched their own search tools, along with several smaller upstarts. Neeva, a search engine with all the polish of Google’s renowned engine but no advertisements, is now a rival in the race.
Neeva was developed by two ex-employees of the company that it most closely resembles in terms of design; therefore, the similarities are not coincidental. The engine was released last year by ex-Googlers Vivek Raghunathan and Sridhar Ramaswamy on a subscription basis; the first three months were free, but subsequent months cost $4.95. A completely free tier is currently being tested: Anyone can download the Neeva search app for iOS or one of the browser extensions for Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, and Microsoft Edge.
Although you wouldn’t think an ad-free search could make that much of a difference, after using Neeva for a bit, the difference is apparent. Critics have rightly criticized Google for creating search advertising that are virtually indistinguishable from ordinary results, and trying to distinguish between organic and paid results can occasionally feel like an impossible endeavor. It doesn’t help that Google keeps coming up with new strategies to cram new adverts into fresh spaces within our search results.
Opening Neeva and seeing a full page of search results without any advertising, shopping tabs, or promotions is like a breath of fresh air, despite the fact that saying this is trite. While some Neeva searches do contain a few widgets, they feel beneficial rather than spammy. You may find cheesecake recipe cards by searching for “cheesecake.” Videos on how to wear chinos can be found by searching “chinos.” Additionally, you may alter your search choices based on the widgets—or lack thereof—that you want to appear at the top of your search results.
Other benefits include a built-in tracking blocker that is comparable to Ghostery in that it notifies you of the name, number, and sites to which third-party trackers were attempting to transfer your data when they were being blocked on the website.
Neeva isn’t giving up on its membership tier despite this free-to-use rollout. People who decide to pay the $4.95 monthly fee will receive access to all of Neeva’s “search and personalization options,” early access to future features, and the opportunity to participate in monthly Q&A sessions with senior staff members. In addition, the corporation guarantees access to an “Exclusive Neeva Premium NFT” in light of the current nightmare we are experiencing.
Putting NFTs aside, Neeva is unquestionably a search engine worth using, whether for the privacy precautions it guarantees or for its simple, uncluttered layout. The bad news is that the engine is now only accessible to users in the United States, although its co-founders recently stated that they intend to expand into India and Western Europe “soon.”