6 votes

New ad-free search subscription service: Neeva

26 comments

  1. [8]
    NoblePath
    Link
    I wish we could get a true alternative search engine. Google's results for arcane searches are getting worse all the time; there's an increasing number of searches I do that turn up few results...

    I wish we could get a true alternative search engine. Google's results for arcane searches are getting worse all the time; there's an increasing number of searches I do that turn up few results and no useful ones (part of this may not be google's fault, increasing amounts of content are being hidden from google I think).

    Another part that's not really Google or any search engine's fault, but greatly decreases their usefulness: search engine optimization.

    This search engine's privacy policy says they share your information with third party service providers such as Microsoft, and does not include language that says they ensure that those third party service providers do anything to protect your information.

    Also, their name is dumb.

    15 votes
    1. [4]
      AugustusFerdinand
      Link Parent
      I have a personal theory, and it's just a theory since SEO is outside my wheelhouse, that the constant cat and mouse game of SEO has caused more actually useful but low traffic websites to be lost...

      I wish we could get a true alternative search engine. Google's results for arcane searches are getting worse all the time; there's an increasing number of searches I do that turn up few results and no useful ones (part of this may not be google's fault, increasing amounts of content are being hidden from google I think).

      Another part that's not really Google or any search engine's fault, but greatly decreases their usefulness: search engine optimization.

      I have a personal theory, and it's just a theory since SEO is outside my wheelhouse, that the constant cat and mouse game of SEO has caused more actually useful but low traffic websites to be lost as the creators aren't interested in/do no optimization. They just put their knowledge out there and a crawler may or may not find it and even if it does, it gets ignored or drowned out by the vast low quality sites that do SEO to get ad revenue. Some of my favorite resources are single person, zero ads, passion projects documenting their hobby. Some of these sites still have page visit counters at the bottom of the website and that's all the owner likely uses to see if anyone has visited.

      One thing I've begun to do, since the photo recognition algorithm seems to be so good, if I can't find what I'm looking for on the first page or three of results is to go to the images instead. Far too often my exact search terms are on the page they pulled the image from and yet the page itself was not in the standard search results. For example I can search for an odd application of a car part and the standard search results will be filled stores trying to sell me the part, but the image results will largely be websites where someone used the part in a project and not a store trying to sell it to me.

      14 votes
      1. joplin
        Link Parent
        That is brilliant! Thank you for sharing that insight!

        Far too often my exact search terms are on the page they pulled the image from and yet the page itself was not in the standard search results.

        That is brilliant! Thank you for sharing that insight!

        5 votes
      2. [2]
        ali
        Link Parent
        Wow, you just put into words perfectly what I felt for a while, too. In recent times, I have started to use image search more often. Also because it feels like the results to some questions are...

        Wow, you just put into words perfectly what I felt for a while, too.
        In recent times, I have started to use image search more often. Also because it feels like the results to some questions are just the exact same text on different websites.

        2 votes
        1. joplin
          Link Parent
          They are. This is more search engine optimization scams. Post the same article to a bunch of auto-generated blogs, all linking back to your page to increase the page rank of your page. I'm not...

          it feels like the results to some questions are just the exact same text on different websites.

          They are. This is more search engine optimization scams. Post the same article to a bunch of auto-generated blogs, all linking back to your page to increase the page rank of your page. I'm not sure how well it works these days. I had a blog something like 15 years ago, and would periodically get comments posted to it that were just articles from these blogs posted as comments on my blog, but pointing to some page selling supplements, or something like that. Many search engine bots don't differentiate between content the website author posted and content in the comments, so this makes it look like a legit blog is linking to your product which can increase the page rank, too. It's scummy tactics all the way down.

          1 vote
    2. babypuncher
      Link Parent
      This kills it for me. DuckDuckGo does offer these protections, for free. My problem with Google has never been the presence of ads at the top of search results. They've always been properly...

      This search engine's privacy policy says they share your information with third party service providers such as Microsoft, and does not include language that says they ensure that those third party service providers do anything to protect your information.

      This kills it for me. DuckDuckGo does offer these protections, for free.

      My problem with Google has never been the presence of ads at the top of search results. They've always been properly labeled, and consistently placed making it easy to skip past them without having to actually look at them. My problem has always been the deep user tracking that drives those ads.

      Why would I pay for a Google alternative that does not actually solve one of the biggest problems I have with Google?

      8 votes
    3. [2]
      lionirdeadman
      Link Parent
      My first thought was that this is used for their Microsoft integration. It would fall under this bullet point : In the end, I'm not sure.

      This search engine's privacy policy says they share your information with third party service providers such as Microsoft, and does not include language that says they ensure that those third party service providers do anything to protect your information.

      My first thought was that this is used for their Microsoft integration.

      It would fall under this bullet point :

      Vendors to support the provision of the Services

      Microsoft is one such provider where we may share limited personal information in order to make the Services available.

      In the end, I'm not sure.

      1 vote
      1. NoblePath
        Link Parent
        Whatever the purpose, the problem is that there is no promise on their part to ensure their agreements with their providers protect user data in any way, or limit its use or further dissemination.

        Whatever the purpose, the problem is that there is no promise on their part to ensure their agreements with their providers protect user data in any way, or limit its use or further dissemination.

        2 votes
  2. [10]
    joplin
    (edited )
    Link
    I saw this on HackerNews this morning. It looks like something I would love. It's a search engine where you pay $5.00(US)/mo. for search. Apparently it was started by some ex-Google execs. This is...

    I saw this on HackerNews this morning. It looks like something I would love. It's a search engine where you pay $5.00(US)/mo. for search. Apparently it was started by some ex-Google execs. This is something I've always thought would be great. Part of the problem is that I don't trust them to do what they claim. There's lots of talk about not selling your data, but they also talk about how they can connect it with your calendar and email so you can still get locally-relevant results and stuff like that. I don't want some random search engine having any connection to my other apps. But it looks like they only support MS and Google products, so it wouldn't matter for me anyway. I may give the free trial a try and see how it works out.

    Edit: And is it a web page or a phone app? From the Terms of Service:

    (a) App License. If you comply with these Terms, Neeva grants to you, during the term of these Terms, a limited non-exclusive, non-transferable license, with no right to sublicense, to download and install the App on your personal computers, mobile handsets, tablets, wearable devices, and/or other devices and to run the App solely for your own personal non-commercial purposes.

    I have no interest in installing an app to search the web. I can do that from my browser, which is what I'll be using to view any results I find. They do talk about it working with browsers, though, so maybe it's both?

    8 votes
    1. [8]
      AugustusFerdinand
      Link Parent
      Looking at their Terms of Service and Privacy Policy, you shouldn't.

      Part of the problem is that I don't trust them to do what they claim.

      Looking at their Terms of Service and Privacy Policy, you shouldn't.

      11 votes
      1. [5]
        Bullmaestro
        Link Parent
        So... you're just paying them a subscription fee for the privilege of selling on your data? How can anybody think this is a good business model especially when search engines are a-dime-a-dozen....

        So... you're just paying them a subscription fee for the privilege of selling on your data? How can anybody think this is a good business model especially when search engines are a-dime-a-dozen.

        Obviously not going to include closed-off markets like China and (to a lesser extent) Korea when explaining the search engine market here. Westerners who care about privacy are already using Duckduckgo which is the most popular and well known alternative to Google (not really saying much.) Those who dislike Google's video search or just want to browse the web for porn would be using Bing. The very rare people who don't know better are still using Ask Jeeves or Yahoo.

        5 votes
        1. [4]
          NoblePath
          Link Parent
          Are they? I'm aware of only Google, Bing, DuckDuckGo, and I think there's a russian one and a chinese one. And DuckDuckGo is just anonymized API access to Google; I think YAHOO is just a straight...

          search engines are a-dime-a-dozen.

          Are they? I'm aware of only Google, Bing, DuckDuckGo, and I think there's a russian one and a chinese one. And DuckDuckGo is just anonymized API access to Google; I think YAHOO is just a straight google front end.

          4 votes
          1. [2]
            post_below
            Link Parent
            DDG republishes Bing results. Anonymous Google results can be found at startpage.com. DDG tries to distance themselves from their reliance on Bing, they talk about their other sources, their...

            DDG republishes Bing results. Anonymous Google results can be found at startpage.com.

            DDG tries to distance themselves from their reliance on Bing, they talk about their other sources, their crawler, but the whole thing falls apart without Bing, and is limited by Bing's algos.

            Maybe someday they'll have a big enough index and their own ranking algos which can compete with Bing and Google, but that's still a long way off. I wish them success in this. In the meantime they're anonymous Bing with some widgets.

            14 votes
            1. wedgel
              Link Parent
              Just a heads up, Startpage was bought by the ad company System1 in 2019.

              Just a heads up, Startpage was bought by the ad company System1 in 2019.

              12 votes
          2. skullkid2424
            Link Parent
            DuckDuckGo has its own crawler and also pulls results from many sources. Yahoo is based on bing.

            DuckDuckGo has its own crawler and also pulls results from many sources. Yahoo is based on bing.

            4 votes
      2. [2]
        JXM
        Link Parent
        What about their privacy policy looks out of place?

        What about their privacy policy looks out of place?

        2 votes
        1. AugustusFerdinand
          Link Parent
          Compared to DuckDuckGo, all of it. They have several purposefully vague and open to interpretation groups to which they share the information they collect under the guise of "we do not...

          Compared to DuckDuckGo, all of it.

          They have several purposefully vague and open to interpretation groups to which they share the information they collect under the guise of "we do not skepticalbunniessellskepticalbunnies your information" but share it instead.

          Stating you're privacy focused and giving away (or more likely getting something in return that is not direct payment) collected information isn't any better than selling it directly.

          11 votes
    2. Keegan
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      On desktop you have to install an addon that gets the full permission to all website data (I couldn’t figure out why it needs this) to set your default search engine and on mobile you need an app....

      I have no interest in installing an app to search the web. I can do that from my browser, which is what I'll be using to view any results I find. They do talk about it working with browsers, though, so maybe it's both?

      On desktop you have to install an addon that gets the full permission to all website data (I couldn’t figure out why it needs this) to set your default search engine and on mobile you need an app. Then all searches must be done within the app, and it is not a good one. So if you are doing general browsing on mobile you won’t get your ad blockers and what-have-you options set up.

      At best, they require this stuff to make it so you don’t have to sign in every time you clear your cookies, but honestly it’s so annoying to use.

      I did not see any reference to a desktop app in the short time I used Neeva before I had my account deleted. If you don’t want to use these addons/apps, you can just visit the site and sign in, but then that adds an extra step to searching.

      5 votes
  3. nothis
    Link
    I welcome a web where services cost money again but I need a bit more data before I make that jump. Side question: How come that DuckDuckGo seems to work just fine, collecting no personalized user...

    I welcome a web where services cost money again but I need a bit more data before I make that jump.

    Side question: How come that DuckDuckGo seems to work just fine, collecting no personalized user data? They seem to be just selling keyword ads. This generally reminds me how innocent the internet ad business used to feel up until the late 00s. Google reportedly still makes most of its money from simple keyword ads with all the personalization optimization almost feeling like bloat to keep engineers busy (I vaguely remember Google announcing cutting down the personalized search and re-focusing on keywords to not get into trouble with EU regulation).

    5 votes
  4. [3]
    Keegan
    Link
    Aside from the privacy differences, Neeva is… interesting. I was severely frustrated by the requirement to use an addon on desktop to set it as your default search engine (technically you can add...

    Aside from the privacy differences, Neeva is… interesting. I was severely frustrated by the requirement to use an addon on desktop to set it as your default search engine (technically you can add it via the search query type thing, but not many would do that). Also, on mobile, it’s nearly impossible to use without using their crappy browser. I do NOT want to switch away from browsers that allow me more control and features such as handoff between devices.

    It has a nice feature for devs where searches can be limited to only official documentation, which is good, but most documentation sites have a search function anyways.

    Their news is alright, but I specified some sites as “preferred” and that literally made those the only sites that come up in news. You would expect they would just be more prevalent, not the only ones. I wouldn’t pay for Neeva in its current state, but you can get 6-7 months for free just by doing their quick 1-minute-or-so tutorials.

    I ended up getting my account deleted (I hate having to send an email to do this) and switching back to DDG with Google as my backup when I don’t get what I want.

    4 votes
    1. [2]
      joplin
      Link Parent
      Thanks for taking one for the team! I suspected this was how it would be. That's a bummer.

      Thanks for taking one for the team! I suspected this was how it would be. That's a bummer.

      2 votes
      1. Keegan
        Link Parent
        I was fully prepared for it to be great, and it really under-delivered to me. Also, I doubt many of their users came from fully using Google, so it doesn’t even do much to solve the problem of way...

        I was fully prepared for it to be great, and it really under-delivered to me.
        Also, I doubt many of their users came from fully using Google, so it doesn’t even do much to solve the problem of way too many people relying on Google.

        2 votes
  5. [4]
    trailrover
    Link
    Off-topic but Brave recently came up with their search engine. I am inclined to switch once they're are past beta release.

    Off-topic but Brave recently came up with their search engine. I am inclined to switch once they're are past beta release.

    2 votes
    1. [3]
      Keegan
      Link Parent
      I liked Brave for a bit, but I was annoyed by the lack of tab syncing actually working. It shows as an available option, and can be turned on, but doesn’t work at all. People have been reporting...

      I liked Brave for a bit, but I was annoyed by the lack of tab syncing actually working. It shows as an available option, and can be turned on, but doesn’t work at all. People have been reporting it forever in their GitHub, but it still hadn’t been fixed when I last checked.

      As for their search engine, I had an invite code and clicked their link to join, then mistakenly closed my browser, and the link no longer worked :(

      If the search is decent, and I can use it without Brave browser, I’ll definitely try it.

      1. [2]
        AugustusFerdinand
        Link Parent
        While every company has it's bad apples, I try to avoid Brave entirely since their CEO is a homophobic COVID-denier/anti-masker.

        While every company has it's bad apples, I try to avoid Brave entirely since their CEO is a homophobic COVID-denier/anti-masker.

        14 votes
        1. Keegan
          Link Parent
          Yikes. Yeah I definitely can’t support that at all. If it’s at the top who knows what happens below. I did solve my browser problem with Edge recently. It has a good mobile app and an excellent...

          Yikes. Yeah I definitely can’t support that at all. If it’s at the top who knows what happens below.

          I did solve my browser problem with Edge recently. It has a good mobile app and an excellent desktop browser, which I prefer greatly over Chrome.