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Neeva Gives up Competing with Google Search, Will Now Focus on AI Solutions

Subscription-based search engine Neeva says it is pulling out of the search market to focus on developing large language model AI.

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Neeva, a search engine that promised to offer an ad-free and private alternative to , has announced that it is shutting down its service by the end of the year. The company said that it will use its technology and expertise to work on new AI products that will be revealed in 2023.

“There is no longer a path towards creating a sustainable business in consumer search. As a result, over the next few weeks, we will be shutting down neeva.com and our consumer search product, and shifting to a new area of focus.”

Neeva was founded by two former Google executives, Sridhar Ramaswamy and Vivek Raghunathan, who wanted to create a search engine that respects and does not rely on advertising revenue. Neeva charged users a monthly fee of $4.95 for unlimited searches and access to features such as personalization, news and shopping preferences, password manager and VPN.

Neeva claimed to have over 100,000 users and was named one of TIME's 100 Best Inventions of 2021. However, the company faced challenges in competing with Google's dominance and user habits, as well as attracting enough paying customers to sustain its operations.

Neeva Steps Aside to Focus on AI

In a blog post, Ramaswamy and Raghunathan thanked their users and partners for their support and feedback and said that they learned a lot from their experience with Neeva. They also said that they are excited about their new direction and that they will share more details about their upcoming AI products in the future.

Neeva users will be able to use the search engine until December 31, 2023, after which it will be discontinued. The company said that it will delete all and refund any unused subscription fees. As for the company, it is now becoming an AI developer and is focusing on large language models (LLMs):

“Over the past year, we've seen the clear, pressing need to use LLMs effectively, inexpensively, safely, and responsibly. Many of the techniques we have pioneered with small models, size reduction, latency reduction, and inexpensive deployment are the elements that enterprises really want, and need, today. We are actively exploring how we can apply our search and LLM expertise in these settings, and we will provide updates on the future of our work and our team in the next few weeks.”

Search Market Shifting to AI Technology

In recent months, we have seen the search landscape change, at least in terms of how envision the future of search. took the lead with the launch of Bing Chat, its chatbot that combines the companies own technology with ChatGPT-like capabilities from OpenAI's GPT-4 LLM.

has sparked curiosity about Microsoft's search engine, but it seems that people are not ready to switch from Google yet. Google is also working on bringing its own AI search, powered by AI such as Bard and PaLM 2. As I wrote before, Bing is losing its share in the browser market.

Statcounter shows that Bing had only 7.14% of the desktop search market in April, while Google dominated with 86.71%. You might wonder why this matters, since Google has always been the top search engine. Well, Bing Chat was supposed to change the game and attract more users to Microsoft.

But even though Microsoft says that Bing has over 100 million daily active users, the search engine is falling behind in the market. Bing Chat, the feature that lets you chat with an AI bot, has not boosted Bing's popularity. Statcounter reveals that Bing's highest market share was 9.92% in October 2022, before Bing Chat was launched.

However, in April 2023, Bing's market share went down to 7.14%, which is lower than the same month a year ago, when it had 8.05%. The picture is even bleaker when mobile and all devices are counted. Bing has only 2.79% of the total market share, while Google is still leading with 92.63%.

SourceNeeva
Luke Jones
Luke Jones
Luke has been writing about all things tech for more than five years. He is following Microsoft closely to bring you the latest news about Windows, Office, Azure, Skype, HoloLens and all the rest of their products.

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