Ad-free search engine Neeva (try it HERE), has an interesting value proposition – it does not bury your organic Web search results with Ads. The company was co-founded by CEO Sridhar Ramaswamy, former SVP of Ads and Commerce at Google from 2013-2018.
Neeva utilizes a freemium revenue model. Premium users ($4.95/month), have access to additional search features, a VPN, monthly communication with management and more. Neeva does not hoard user PII data the way Google does given that Neeva does not generate Ad revenue.
I have tested the service and find it accurate and quite comprehensive as it relates to text and image-based search. Where Neeva struggles is on the video search side as it places YouTube video search results below all other video sources. My guess is that users would prefer the YouTube results to many of the other video sources I observed during test queries. It is understandable that Neeva would not want to reward Google – the search leader – by placing YouTube search results at the top of the video search results page. However, by penalizing YouTube results, Neeva harms the user experience. This is important to note as YouTube continues to grow in popularity with young people – especially teenagers – and will increasingly serve as the underpinning of search.
I will continue to use Neeva’s service as I favor the company’s approach to user privacy. Further, I am not a fan of the fact that Google search results have become overrun with Ads. This problem is likely to get worse for Google over time as the company will face continued pressure to deliver Ad revenue growth.