Neeva, as soon as a promising competitor to Google Search, is shutting down

Neeva, which for some time seemed like one of many startups with an actual probability to problem the supremacy of Google Search, introduced on Saturday that it’s shutting down its search engine. The corporate says it’s pivoting to AI — and could also be acquired by Snowflake, The Information reported — however principally appears to consider it failed.

“Constructing serps is difficult,” Neeva co-founders Sridhar Ramaswamy and Vivek Raghunathan wrote in a blog post announcing the shutdown. (Ramaswamy particularly is a part of the explanation Neeva appeared promising — because the longtime head of Google’s advert enterprise, few individuals are higher geared up to know methods to construct and monetize search than he’s.) However Neeva did it, they stated. It constructed a very good, aggressive search engine. It was really effectively forward of Google in some respects, like swapping 10 blue hyperlinks for a extra visible web page and emphasizing human-created info.

However constructing the search engine was really the simple half. “All through this journey, we’ve found that it’s one factor to construct a search engine, and a completely completely different factor to persuade common customers of the necessity to swap to a better option,” Ramaswamy and Raghunathan continued.

Constructing the search engine was really the simple half

I’ve talked with Neeva’s co-founders a number of occasions during the last couple of years, and their record of grievances right here is lengthy and well-founded. They’ve needed to take care of the billion-dollar offers Google indicators to make itself the default search engine on units all over the place; the massive “are you certain you wish to change?” popups that present up everytime you attempt to set a brand new default browser or search engine; the problem of discovering these settings within the first place; the mess that’s the Chrome Internet Retailer; on and on and on. Anybody attempting to construct a brand new search engine is preventing a massively uphill battle.

Neeva was additionally a paid product, as the corporate tried to show a enterprise mannequin for search aside from adverts and surveillance. “Opposite to fashionable perception,” the co-founders wrote within the weblog submit, “convincing customers to pay for a greater expertise was really a more easy drawback in comparison with getting them to attempt a brand new search engine within the first place.” Mix that with a tricky financial system, and Neeva merely couldn’t see a enterprise path ahead.

The timing right here is actually fascinating. Neeva is shutting down at what is perhaps one of the best second in 20 years for upstart serps. Customers are increasingly fed up with the advert load and subpar outcomes they get from Google, and AI chatbots like Bing and ChatGPT have upended everybody’s concept about methods to work together with the web. Neeva guess on this, too, creating a big language model-based system known as Neeva AI that’s in some ways extra helpful than what you’ll get from Bing or Bard. However that wasn’t sufficient both.

The race to take down Google continues to be very a lot on, after all: Bing continues to push onerous to realize market share, and Courageous recently touted that it now runs utterly by itself search stack. Firms like and DuckDuckGo are additionally attempting to re-think the way in which search works, and utilizing AI to take action. However to this point, it appears like Google’s solely actual competitor is, effectively, Google.

Neeva’s search engine will shut down on June 2. Going ahead, Neeva will probably be “shifting to a brand new space of focus,” which appears prone to be LLM-based and associated to the Snowflake acquisition. The corporate will probably be refunding customers for the unused portion of their Neeva subscriptions, and deleting all person information. “We’re actually grateful to our neighborhood,” the co-founders wrote, “and we’re actually sorry that we aren’t in a position to proceed to supply the search engine that you really want and deserve.”