Gizmodo: New Google Trial Docs May Explain Why Search Sucks So Bad Now

November 2, 2023 Media

The Department of Justice and Google just rumbled their way past the halfway point of a landmark antitrust trial vying to answer a potentially industry-rupturing question: Does Google maintain its ironfisted stranglehold over internet search results because of its superior innovation or as a byproduct of ruthless anti-competitive jockeying and closed-door dealings? New documents revealed during the historic monopoly trial over the past week seem to lend more weight to the latter argument, and they could help explain why Google’s once dazzling search results anecdotally feel like they are getting worse for some.

A legal expert and antitrust advocate speaking with Gizmodo said these questions speak to the heart of the government’s case against Google. In an interview, American Economic Liberties Project Legal Counsel Lee Hepner said Google’s ability to potentially degrade a product without meaningfully losing users was a “hallmark sign of monopoly power.” Hepner likened this to more traditional anti-competition cases where monopolists can simply raise the prices of goods without improving their quality and, importantly, without any real threat of losing market share.

“It’s proof of Google’s monopoly over search that they are able to degrade their experience,” Hepner said. “Google is aware that degrading its search product is going to affect the user experience negatively.”