Neeva, an ad-free Google and Bing alternative, arrives in Australia

Neeva search engine Australia launch

If you’re sick of search engines prioritising advertising revenue over providing the best results, Neeva might be what you’re looking for.

An alternative to Google and Bing with its own AI functionality, Neeva is an emerging search engine that’s big on privacy and does away with sponsored results. Now available in Australia for the first time, it’s come at a major junction point for online search. AI services like ChatGPT and Microsoft’s new AI-powered Bing and Edge features promise to deliver better search experiences. Perhaps Google’s monopoly is coming to an end.

What is Neeva?

Founded by Sridhar Ramaswamy, former Senior Vice-President of Ads at Google, and Vivek Raghunathan, former Vice-President of Monetisation at YouTube, the new search engine comes from experienced heads. Neeva’s mission is a simple one: deliver the best results as quickly as possible.

One thing that makes Neeva stand out from its multinational competitors is an emphasis on eliminating external bias. Ramaswamy wants to get rid of unsavoury search engine tactics like “SEO spam” and “corporate bias” while giving users efficient results.

“We’re reinventing search by leveraging the most cutting edge AI, giving users control over sources; providing accurate and transparent results as well as private and customised experiences without the influence of corporate bias, tracked around the web,” Ramaswamy said. “Users should expect answers from their queries, not the ads or information that one company decides they should see online.”

“The ad-supported internet has created vastly misaligned incentives that have made Big Technology monopolies and advertisers richer while exploiting the privacy and personal data of users. It’s time for a new approach to search that puts people first.”

To do this, Neeva provides results via its own search stack comprising billions of web pages. Additionally, it supports integration with various major apps, including email, Dropbox, Slack and Figma. According to the local announcement, this cross-app connectivity helps you search for documents while maintaining your privacy.

NeevaAI and premium features

One major feature available with the privacy-centric search engine is NeevaAI. Described as delivering the “best of ChatGPT with the authority and timeliness of search”, it sounds similar to Microsoft’s ambitions with Bing.

NeevaAI Australia example
Citations will be an important part of the NeevaAI experience, allowing you to check sources. Source: Neeva

NeevaAI provides a single response to queries while linking to referenced sources of information. This is important because it lets you verify the reliability of the information presented. It also supports the digital publishing industry, too, with users able to click on sources to read more information, ensuring people’s work is recognised.

While Neeva is free to use, it does have paid features. Under the free plan, you can only make 50 ad-free searches per month, plus app and cross-device functionality are limited. However, the paid plan provides reasonable value: for $7.99 a month, or $69.99 a year, you get unlimited access to all of Neeva’s features in addition to Dashlane password manager and Bitdefender VPN for extra security and privacy.

This also means you can use the search platform on as many devices as you want. There are browser extensions and apps for iOS and Android, encompassing many different devices.

At the time of writing, it was unclear if NeevaAI is live yet, as I couldn’t get it to appear. There’s no mention of it being a paid feature anywhere, so it might still be activating for us Down Under.

More competition is always exciting, and it’s great we have a search engine option without ads or tracking. In recent years, I’ve found searching Reddit threads to be more useful for finding specific information than Google. As it turns out, Neeva knows the struggle too, which makes me excited about the future of online search.

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