Neeva, a search engine without ads and trackers, started by a person who used to work at Google for ads, is closing down.
The search engine wanted users to pay instead of seeing ads, but not many people signed up.
Lately, it also began displaying answers created by artificial intelligence for searches.
Now, the company wants to use its knowledge to create more AI businesses.
It will shut down on 2 June, and people can get money back for the time left on their subscription.
Sridhar Ramaswamy, who worked at Google for 16 years and was in charge of its ad business, made Neeva. He told BBC News that he no longer wanted to be part of the technology sector because it uses people’s data in a way that is not fair.
But he and his business partner Vivek Raghunathan wrote on their blog: “We have learned that it is challenging to get people to use our search engine instead of the ones they are already comfortable with. ”
They were competing against big companies with a lot of money and stubborn resistance, like making it hard for users to change their search settings, so people couldn’t switch.
The founders also said that the economy has changed since they started the business in October.
“They said that it was easier to get users to pay for a better experience than to get them to try a new search engine in the first place, despite what most people think. ”
The search engine has about 50 employees and, when it started, had received $77. 5 million (£68 million) from investors.
The company wants to use its AI skills to make money, especially in making chatbots like ChatGPT better.
“In the last year, we have realized the importance of using LLMs well, at a low cost, in a safe way, and being careful,” the founders stated. And the technology they created for Neeva is in high demand by businesses today.
“We are working hard to see how we can use our search and LLM skills in these areas. We will let you know what we decide in the next few weeks,” they said.