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Ex Google advertising chief: There is ‘no limit’ to tech companies mining your data - Sridhar Ramaswamy

Kitco News

(Kitco News) - Google bombards its users with advertising, and infringes upon privacy, suggested Sridhar Ramaswamy, CEO and Co-Founder of Neeva, a privacy-focused and ads-free search engine.

Ramaswamy, who worked as senior VP of advertising and commerce at Google, said that Neeva would be a "breath of fresh air" for users who are tired of ads.

"Google currently is maxed out on users," he said. "The only way they make more money is by showing you more ads, and by obscuring the ads that they show you… You use [Neeva] and there are only results, 100 percent, from top to bottom. This lets us create a very personalized experience."

Ramaswamy spoke with David Lin, Anchor and Producer at Kitco News, at the Collision Conference in Toronto.

Privacy, Ads, and Search Engines

Neeva has a free option and a subscription-based model for users who wish to customize their experience. If users wish to tailor the search results they receive, then Neeva makes this possible.

"You can customize what kind of news you like," said Ramaswamy, giving an example. "Maybe you want more news from Kitco? You can boost those [results] up. So, we create a very personalized experience."

Ramaswamy claimed that Neeva never infringes upon a user's privacy, and that Neeva will never share a user's data with third parties.

Ramaswamy said that "[big] tech companies are motivated by one thing, to increase profit… And they see user data as an unlimited resource to mine… So for me right now, it's all about offering options with the big tech players. You think, ‘I can't do anything about search, I can't do anything about privacy.' [Neeva is] that important option."


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Misinformation?

Libertarians and conservatives have raised concerns that Big Tech companies like Google, Twitter, and Facebook censor results for political reasons, under the guise of preventing ‘misinformation' from spreading.

"What happens in practice is that social media algorithms, algorithms that have recommendations built into them, have a natural tendency to amplify the crazy, to amplify the really sensational" Ramaswamy said. "And that can be a vector for spreading more and more misinformation."

He explained that search engines classify news as ‘misinformation' based on whether "reputable" sites publish the news, and whether "community forums like Reddit" allow such content to exist on their sites.

"I think the general viewpoint that certain voices are not heard is very real," said Ramaswamy. "[Neeva] puts you in charge. We think that you should be deciding the news providers you prefer to see."

To find out Ramaswamy's thoughts on artificial intelligence, watch the above video.

Follow David Lin on Twitter: @davidlin_TV

Follow Kitco News on Twitter: @KitcoNewsNOW

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