Given that Google earns more than $100 billion, there is “a fundamental conflict of interest between serving users who want to access the best and most relevant information and Google’s business model, which incentivises Google to sell ads and keep users on Google’s own sites,” David Cicilline (D-RI), the chair of the subcommittee, said at the Big Tech CEOs’ hearing before the House subcommittee on antitrust on July 29 (available to watch here). But Google CEO Sundar Pichai clarified that ads are shown for only a small subset of queries, “where the intent from users is highly commercial” such as buying a television. 1. Google dominates the online search market with over 85% online searches going through its servers. 2. Google aims to keep users within its own websites due to threat from ‘vertical search’: Cicilline said that documents show that Google has become “a walled garden” wherein the aim is to keep users within its sites as when users go to other websites, they divert traffic and revenue away from Google. Pichai agreed that the company looked at vertical search but called it a validation of competition instead of threat to it. 3. Google controls 90% of the digital advertising market: Google’s dominance isn’t limited to Search. Representative Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) pointed out that Google controls 50%-60% of the ad exchange market, by virtue of controlling middlemen like Google’s Display & Video 260 and Google Ads, it controls 90% of the buy-side market. How Google’s advertising exchange works? Google’s…
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