“At scale, an ad-supported product serves the company that shows you ads, it does not serve you.” With this thought, Sridhar Ramaswamy and Vivek Raghunathan, IIT alumni and former Google executives are ready to roll out Neeva, an ad-free, private search product, which, by the middle of this year, hopes to offer a customer-paid and customer-first alternative, at a time of growing concerns over the control wielded by tech megaliths.
“The ad model has been great for bringing search to everyone on the planet, but over time, there is more and more pressure to show more ads and not really what the user wants. Our thesis is that we can create a much better search product, focusing solely on what a customer needs,” says Ramaswamy, the CEO of Neeva, speaking on a video call from his California home. This is a domain the 54-year-old knows well, having been the senior vice-president of ads and commerce at Google, and also run its travel, shopping and search infrastructure teams.
Raghunathan studied at IIT Mumbai and was earlier vice-president of Monetisation at YouTube.