How Google Alters Search Queries to Get at Your Wallet
Recent testimony revealed how the search engine operates
Recently, a startling piece of information came to light in the ongoing antitrust case against Google. During one employee's testimony, a key exhibit momentarily flashed on a projector. In the mostly closed trial, spectators like myself have only a few seconds to scribble down the contents of exhibits shown during public questioning.
Thus far [in the trial], witnesses had dropped breadcrumbs hinting at the extent of Google's drive to boost profits: a highly confidential effort called Project Mercury, urgent missives to "shake the sofa cushions" to generate more advertising revenue on the search engine results page (SERP), distressed emails about the sustained decline in the ad-triggering searches that generate most of Google's money, recollections of how the executive team has long insisted that obscene corporate profit equals consumer good. Now, the projector screen showed an internal Google slide about changes to its search algorithm.
I was attending the trial out of long-standing professional interest. I had previously battled Google's legal team while at the Federal Trade Commission, and I advocated around the world for search engine competition as an executive for DuckDuckGo. I'm all too familiar with Google's secret games and word play. With the trial practically in my backyard, I could not stay away from the drama.
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