While Google's multiple antitrust cases continue to drag on here in the U.S., it looks like the search giant's starting to make a few concessions across the pond. Reuters reports that Google's parent company, Alphabet, has made an offer to European Union regulators in response to an ongoing investigation into the tech giants' adtech business: Don't fine us, and we'll let other companies place their ads on YouTube.
Alphabet has reportedly offered to allow its rival advertising technology companies to place ads beside YouTube videos in negotiations with the European Commission, rather than obligating them to use Google Ad Manager, Display & Video 360, and Google Ads to do so. [...]
Amazon has reportedly ceded ground in a similar antitrust investigation. The ecommerce company has offered to boost third-party sellers' visibility in its online marketplace and to share shopper data with them so as to avoid fines, Reuters reports. European regulators could fine Google and Amazon up to 10% of the companies' global revenue if they do conclude the tech giants engaged in anti-competitive practices.
In many ways, the EU probe mirrors another stateside antitrust case against the tech giant that's currently being spearheaded by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. [...]
The biggest difference between the Texas case and the EU case, if the Reuters report is to be believed, would be Google's response. Google filed a motion to dismiss Paxton's case at the start of 2022 on the grounds that, essentially, Google toppled the ad market because it's really good at innovating, and those thousands of other companies just aren't.
"State Plaintiffs' complaint—cheered on by a handful of Google's rivals who have failed to invest properly, compete successfully, or innovate consistently—might serve the narrow interests of those rivals," Google wrote in the motion. "But it also threatens to stifle the dynamism that drives Google and other firms to deliver the products on which businesses and consumers depend every day."
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In February, an engineer named Dmitri Brereton wrote a blog post about Google's search-engine decay, rounding up leading theories for why the product's "results have gone to shit." The post quickly shot to the top of tech forums such as Hacker News and was widely shared on Twitter and even prompted a PR response from Google's Search liaison, Danny Sullivan, refuting one of Brereton's claims. "You said in the post that quotes don't give exact matches. They really do. Honest," Sullivan wrote in a series of tweets.
Brereton's most intriguing argument for the demise of Google Search was that savvy users of the platform no longer type instinctive keywords into the search bar and hit "Enter." The best Googlers—the ones looking for actionable or niche information, product reviews, and interesting discussions—know a cheat code to bypass the sea of corporate search results clogging the top third of the screen. "Most of the web has become too inauthentic to trust," Brereton argued, therefore "we resort to using Google, and appending the word 'reddit' to the end of our queries." Brereton cited Google Trends data that show that people are searching the word reddit on Google more than ever before.
[...] Google has built wildly successful mobile operating systems, mapped the world, changed how we email and store photos, and tried, with varying success, to build cars that drive themselves. [...] Most of the tech company's products—Maps, Gmail—are Trojan horses for a gargantuan personalized-advertising business, and Search is the one that started it all. It is the modern template for what the technology critic Shoshana Zuboff termed "surveillance capitalism."
The article goes on at length about ruthless commercialism via ever-intrusive ads, constant tweaks to the search algorithm, and how different generations use the ubiquitous search engine.