Search engine Neeva launches today in Canada to provide users with a tracking-free and ad-free alternative to search platform Google.
Following its launch in the U.S. last year, and in Europe in October 2022, Neeva has amassed more than a million users.
Users can customize their web search experiences without ‘corporate influence’, as the company says it never sells customer data to advertisers or allows third party tracking, prioritizing privacy and transparency for users.
“The internet has evolved away from users and caters towards advertisers above all else,” said Neeva chief executive officer (CEO) Sridhar Ramaswamy. “Canada has always been at the forefront when it comes to privacy, and we at Neeva are excited to officially bring our localized and private-first search engine to Canadians.”
Ramaswamy was the former senior vice president of Ads at Google, and co-founder Vivek Raghunathan was the vice president of Monetization at YouTube.
Neeva allows users to sign up for either a free basic plan or a paid premium membership plan. The free plan allows users to search both web and connected personal accounts like Gmail and Dropbox (subject to usage limits), set news and shopping preferences, and search from multiple devices. The premium membership allows unlimited searches and provides privacy protecting tools such as Premium Password Manager and VPN (virtual private network).
Search history and interactions are not stored by default on Neeva, and users can choose to opt in or out of memory mode (when turned on, searches and interactions are saved for up to 90 days). The data generated through the usage of Neeva, including search history, is encrypted, both at rest on the platform’s servers and in transit.
If users connect Neeva to an external data source such as Google Workspace (formerly G Suite), Office 365, or Dropbox, the engine processes the data it obtains from that source, including email, documents, contacts, calendar and other personal information. However, the company maintains that information is only used to show personal results when searching in Neeva, but “never for profit”.
The personal accounts that users can connect to Neeva include Google, Office 365, Dropbox, Slack, Github, Confluence, Jira, Notion and Figma accounts. More integrations are to come, the company says.
So far, the company has raised over US$80m from investors like Sequoia Capital, Greylock Ventures, Inovia Capital, and Neythri Futures Fund. Additionally, Neeva had a successful 2021 US$40m Series B funding round.
Tune in to the Dec. 17 weekend episode of Hashtag Trending, as Ramaswamy joins IT World Canada’s CIO, Jim Love, to talk about Neeva.