Going Google-free: Neeva gives search result control and context back to the user

With your existing search engine, how do you know you are really getting the results you want?

Search engines are step zero for users wanting to find any content on the internet -- they are built into our browsers, our mobile devices, and our content streaming products. All you need to do is start typing the name of something, and suddenly, you have results.

But are these really the results you want? How do we know if they are trusted sources? How do we know how these content providers are financed? Are they ad-supported, have a political bias, or provide authoritative information as the original information providers or sources of genuine expertise?

If you're using one of the major search engines such as Google or Bing, you won't be provided with that information.

Neeva, a new search engine being developed by ex-Google executive Sridhar Ramaswamy -- who once ran the company's $115B advertising business -- wants to return context and control of the search engine experience back to the end-user.



Part of that bringing control and context back is its partnership with NewsGuard. This internet content watchdog creates "nutritional labels" for different media sources based on how well they rate on credibility (such as their overall accuracy when reporting on issues such as COVID-19) and overall transparency (such as who owns and finances them).  

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Neeva search engine results for "COVID vaccine"

Jason Perlow/ZDNet

Whenever you perform a search on Neeva -- which is installable as an extension on Chrome or Edge browsers or as an app on iOS -- it will provide you with the ability to dig deeper into the content source being shown in the search results and display NewsGuard's summary ratings as well as its full nutritional label and report. 

Oh, and there's no advertising. None.

But that's not all. Neeva will show you which sites in your results are trusted sources, ad-supported, are providers/products, or lifestyle-related results. It will also give you additional context about products you are looking for -- for example, if you search for "Best espresso machines," it will show you results in different price ranges as ranked by major review sites. 

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NewsGuard "Nutritional Label" for OAN in Neeva search engine

Jason Perlow/ZDNet

You can also see results as returned as images, maps, news, or videos.

It's also possible to customize or rank your preferred news providers. So, for example, if you have subscriptions to certain newspapers, such as Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, or the New York Times, you can rank those first and de-rank the providers you want to see less of, such as FOX News or OAN. 

Neeva also acts as a personalized search engine -- you can connect external providers such as Google so that you can dig into your Gmail or Google Drive, as well as your Office 365, Dropbox, Slack, GitHub, Confluence, Jira, Box, Notion, and Figma accounts. 

Currently, you can evaluate Neeva for free for five months after you set it up, but the service will cost $4.95 per month when your trial is over. The company is working with other providers besides NewsGuard (which normally costs $3 a month unless you use Microsoft Edge) to provide more features to their subscribers, so it seeks more of a "value-added" service bundling model.

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