Google's former advertising chief is making an ad-free search engine

mongeese

Posts: 422   +65
Staff member

The breaking point for Ramaswamy came in 2017. The London Times published an exposé on seemingly innocuous children’s videos on YouTube that had hundreds, if not thousands, of paedophilic comments. Google rushed to quell the abuse of their platform. But the astute queried how the system had enabled such a disaster.

“This is an impossible conflict and we kind of muddled our way through it,” Ramaswamy said.

YouTube works on a simple principle of profit. Videos that receive views and likes and comments are deemed successful and promoted. Advertisements run in front of them. Google’s income is generated automatically. It’s safety and security that comes later – countermeasures, like blocking the comments on a video, are added when an issue is noticed (usually by journalists).

Ramaswamy argues that this is the predictable result of prioritizing profit over users. If Google makes money from advertising to you, are you the user or the product?

Ramaswamy, together with another former Googler, Vivek Raghunathan, have started a company called Neeva. They’re creating a search engine that doesn’t advertise to its users at all. They’re not reinventing the wheel, though; search results are provided by Bing and it uses Apple Maps for directions. It’s a cosmetic and philosophical upgrade. The challenge they face is that their cosmetic and philosophical upgrade has an (unspecified) subscription fee.

Ramaswamy begins his blog post describing the Neeva search engine with this principle: “finding information that is important to us—weather, jobs, sports, that strange headache symptom—is a basic and deeply personal human need.” But if the product is rooted in democratic user-centric ideology, how then can it claim to only fulfill that need for paying customers? Is Neeva trading one philosophical fault for another?

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Getgone

Posts: 49   +69
Google indeed constantly increases percentage of ads in search results.
It shows me results for "the" word in youtube. Absolutely random but matching letters but from google's client are more important than real result.
Soon you'll type "plEase, stop" and search will tell you there's no better thing in the world than facEbook.
 

ShadowDeath

Posts: 161   +112
LOL ..... you got to love it when an old dog turns on his former master .....
There are a lot of alternatives popping up lately.

Google -> neeva.co
Twitter -> Parler
Reddit -> Ruqqus (The admin is actively developing on this one. He is currently working on changes to improve the engine due to 503 errors because of the sudden influx in traffic)

I think people are just sick of these big tech companies controlling everything.
 

FF222

Posts: 244   +184
The very concept of this search engine is flawed, even aside being subscription-based. Why? Because it relies on results of a search engine that's generating revenue through ads. Which inherently means that it's inner working and results will prioritize ad revenue versus any other properties.

This in turn also means that any user that will use this new service will pay for it in cash, but still receive not only the same results they'd have gotten for free, but also results that are driven by ad revenue. It's just mindless and pointless beyond reason.

But, hey, it sounds totally good for a dotcom-(bubble)-idea....
 

psycros

Posts: 3,227   +3,469
Most browsers now include some degree of ad blocking and addons block even more as well as the trackers. Startpage.com anonymizes your Google searches.
 

gcarter

Posts: 103   +39
Totally agreed. These "bleeding heart" touchy feely ventures are just knee jerk reactions ironically trying to move a way from a company who made knee jerk reactions!

At the end of the day, people like FREE and will keep using google regardless of these other holier than thou offerings!

The very concept of this search engine is flawed, even aside being subscription-based. Why? Because it relies on results of a search engine that's generating revenue through ads. Which inherently means that it's inner working and results will prioritize ad revenue versus any other properties.

This in turn also means that any user that will use this new service will pay for it in cash, but still receive not only the same results they'd have gotten for free, but also results that are driven by ad revenue. It's just mindless and pointless beyond reason.

But, hey, it sounds totally good for a dotcom-(bubble)-idea....
 

Tams80

Posts: 49   +24
But if the product is rooted in democratic user-centric ideology, how then can it claim to only fulfill that need for paying customers? Is Neeva trading one philosophical fault for another?
Well, unless a government, business or charity step in to fund it while giving it autonomy; then how else would it be viable?