Sridhar Ramaswamy

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Neeva, the privacy-focused search company founded by former Google CEO Sridhar Ramaswamy, announced Saturday that it is shutting down its consumer search engine and will focus on exploring artificial intelligence use cases.

In a blog posts on the company’s website, Ramaswamy and Vivek Raghunathan, another Neva co-founder, wrote that “acquiring users has been really difficult.” They said this challenge, in addition to the “different economic environment,” has made it clear that a business in consumer search is not sustainable.

“This was a very tough decision that took into account many things: our business development to date, the current funding environment and our ability to continue to grow rapidly in this dramatically changing search environment,” Ramaswamy said in a tweet Saturday.

A representative for Neeva did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Ramaswamy built Neeva in 2019 after leaving his role as senior vice president of Google’s advertising operations a year earlier, which he said was over disappointment with the company’s relentless focus on maintaining growth at the expense of users.

Neeva will explore use cases for generative AI and large language models in search going forward, according to the post. and its consumer search product will be shut down in the coming weeks.

Neeva users with a paid subscription to Neeva Premium will receive a refund for the unused portion, and the company will also delete all user data as part of the shutdown, Ramaswamy and Raghunathan said in the blog post.

Executives said they will have more to share about Neeva’s future in the coming weeks.