ad-free search engine to rival Google’s launches in Europe

A new online search engine has launched in Europe that promises to rival Google by delivering results without ads or tracking.

Neeva was created by Sridhar Ramaswamy, an Indian-born software engineer who previously ran Google’s massive advertising division.

The platform has already attracted more than 600,000 users in the US since 2021 thanks to its privacy-focused model, and has raised $77.5m (£68m) from investors around the world.

Neeva offers a “freemium model”, which means customers will be prompted to create their account for free but will ultimately be charged for using the service, likely around £5 ($5.60) per month.

Additionally, Neeva says it can easily connect to apps such as email, Dropbox, Slack, Figma and others, allowing users to easily search for personal documents while maintaining strict privacy controls.

Mr Ramaswamy said his product was a “user-centric platform” that focused on “private and transparent searches versus an advertiser-serving search engine”.

“The internet should be your private corner of the web instead of a deluge of ads, SEO spam, and irrelevant information,” he said.

“We’re reinventing search by giving users control over sources; delivering accurate, transparent results, and private, personalized experiences uninfluenced by corporate biases, tracked across the web.”

Mr. Ramaswamy previously led GoogleThe $115 billion advertising division, the biggest part of the company he was employed with from 2003 to 2018. He then worked in venture capital before starting his last company.

It comes after the European Commission upheld a 4 billion euro ($3.93 billion) antitrust fine against the tech giant after ruling it had abused its dominant position in its operating system. Android mobile to promote Google’s search engine.

The initial EC ruling in 2018 determined that Google breached European Union rules by requiring smartphone makers to take a set of Google apps if they wanted them and stopped them from selling devices with modified versions of Android.

The bundle contained 11 apps, including YouTube, Maps and Gmail, but regulators focused on the three with the biggest market share: Google Search, Chrome and the company’s Play Store for apps.

Google had made some changes after the original decision to fix the problems, like giving European Android users a choice of browsers and search apps and charging device makers to pre-install its apps.

Updated: October 07, 2022, 04:18