Sridhar Ramaswamy
Krisztian Bocsi | Bloomberg | Getty Images

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

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

“This was a very tough decision that took into account lots of things: our business progress so far, the current funding environment and our ability to continue to grow quickly in this vastly changed 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 ad business a year earlier, which he said was over disillusionment 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 shut down over the next few weeks.

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

The executives said they will have more to share about the future of Neeva in the coming weeks.