Neeva: Is This Google Killer on the Run?

May 18, 2023

Vea4_thumb_thumb_thumb_thumb_thumb_tNote: This essay is the work of a real and still-alive dinobaby. No smart software involved, just a dumb humanoid.

Sometimes I think it is 2007 doing the déjà vu dance. I read “Report: Snowflake Is in Advanced Talks to Acquire Search Startup Neeva.” Founded by Xooglers, Neeva was positioned to revolutionize search and generate subscription revenue. Along the highway to the pot of gold, Neeva would deliver on point results. How did that pay for search model work out?

According to the article:

Snowflake Inc., the cloud-based data warehouse provider, is reportedly in advanced talks to acquire a search startup called Neeva Inc. that was founded by former Google LLC advertising executive Sridhar Ramaswamy.

Like every other content processing company I bump into, Neeva was doing smart software. Combine the relevance angle with generative AI and what do you get? A start up that is going to be acquired by a firm with some interesting ideas about how to use search and retrieval to make life better.

Are there other search outfits with a similar business model? Sure, Kagi comes to mind. I used to keep track of start ups which had technology that would provide relevant results to users and a big payday to the investors. Do these names ring a bell?


If the Snowflake Neeva deal comes to fruition, will it follow the trajectory of IBM Vivisimo. Vivisimo disappeared as an entity and morphed into a big data component. No problem. But Vivisimo was a metasearch and on-the-fly tagging system. Will the tie up be similar to the Microsoft acquisition of Fast Search & Transfer. Fast still lives but I don’t know too many Softies who know about the backstory. Then there is the HP Autonomy deal. The acquisition is still playing out in the legal eagle sauna.

Few care about the nuances of search and retrieval. Those seemingly irrelevant details can have interesting consequences. Some are okay like the Dassault Exalead deal. Others? Less okay.

Stephen E Arnold, May 18, 2023


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