For a while now, the entire tech world has been holding on to its seats and trying to stay as updated as possible with whatever is going on with Google’s antitrust and court problems. But the thing is, sadly none of us are lawyers, so we really are having a lot of trouble with comprehending what is really happening there, and which is the most likely outcome to happen. But lucky for us someone in the Twitter universe did.
A couple of days ago, a Twitter user made a “Google’s Antitrust for Dummies” sort of thing, and today we are here to deep dive into it and walk you through the whole thing. So let’s jump right in and see the basic disclosure of Google’s antitrust filing, shall we?
So to get started, our Twitter buddy opens up with: “either Google is screwed, or the entire society is” — so which one will be? I don’t know, but can one survive without the other? Either way, let’s see the actual facts that came upon his research, and what they mean to us.
So the first thing he tells us about is Jedi Blue, an apparent secret deal between Google and Facebook, which we’ve also been talking about for the past months. But the thing that struck me the most about this is that it was found that this deal was not only illegal, but actually included an entire section basically saying “Ok, so if anyone finds out about this illegal deal, we’ll cover up for each other”. How illegal can it be that you actually need to make a specific note about what will happen if (when) it comes out?
The second thing that he found is about gTrade, a team Google has whose one purpose is to manipulate the ad market. So basically what they do is that, regardless of who is actually bidding the most, there are cases where Google will win the auction for ad placements anyway. This is not only unfair to publishers who were offering more money, but also to the website owners who will end up making a lot less money than they could’ve because Google decided that their placements were theirs to take.
The third thing requires a bit more explanation. Apparently, Google has this project named “Project NERA” whose goal is to turn the entire web into a place (or garden as our Twitter buddy names it) “not owned but operated” by Google. And in order to reach that goal, they force users to add chrome personas and to log in every time they want to find something in their browser. You want to go to YouTube? Oh too bad you can’t without logging in. Oh, you thought you were unlogged? BAM! Forced log in. And many other of these actions towards making sure every single person is logged in so they can track their online activities as detailed as possible. What’s interesting about this is also the fact that they’ve been going insane about forbidding third-party cookies, trying to force everyone into FLOCs, only so they could actually end up tracking everyone (AND target their ads better) just because they are using their software.
The fourth thing he tells us about is the scam of AMPs. Basically what happened here is that Google spread the message that AMPs would enhance page load times when it came to header bidding, when it actually made them slower, and they knew it. So it really seems that Google is not only competing in exchanges that are rigged so that only they can win, but actually, they are willing to go all the way to make sure no one can beat them at their auctions.
And finally, he tells us how Google has also been working with Facebook and Microsoft to prevent them from increasing their privacy policies, regardless of the effect that could have on their reputations.
So it is really clear for us here that the only truth is that Google will do literally everything they can to make more money. Regardless of scamming people, lying to their faces, releasing communicates explaining themselves otherwise, they are all about the money they make and nothing else.
And are we really surprised? I mean, I don’t think anyone was naive enough to believe Google was doing all their work just to “organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful”. And even when all this information might seem like a lot to take in, I believe at the end of the day it is not really something that we never could have expected, and it probably looks more like an open secret everyone knew and no one would really do anything about.
But the real problem here is what can happen now that someone is actually doing something about it. Is Google now totally screwed and will soon be gone forever? Will the world be able to survive without them? Will they find a way around the law, and continue doing their thang? Will publishers just ignore all of this and move on like nothing happened?
Really there are no certainties, and we just know what the document states. So, for now, it looks like the only thing we can do is just hang in there, see what happens, watch out for forced logins, and try to start thinking about how our lives without Google might look like.