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Thread: PSA: search "hunter biden" on Google and then compare the results to Duckduckgo

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    Default PSA: search "hunter biden" on Google and then compare the results to Duckduckgo

    Google is a monopoly, with 88 percent of the search market in the United States.

    After a year-long investigation into Google, the Department of Justice filed an antitrust lawsuit against the company this past week.

    For those of us who have been paying attention, the lawsuit isn’t a surprise. As a search engine optimizer, my job is to beat search engines, and Google is our behemoth. No modern business can survive without showing up in Google, so specialists in my industry anticipate every algorithm update, scour Google’s webmaster guidelines, and experiment with thousands of keyword searches to understand what makes Google tick.

    But in addition to all I’ve learned about search algorithms over the past decade, I’ve also had a front-row seat to Google’s transformation from a democratic landscape that rewards relevance and quality into a pay-for-play machine that increasingly rewards, well, whatever Google wants to reward.

    The harm of the search engine market’s anti-competitiveness is far more subtle.

    On the surface, Google is the opposite of monopolistic — it is a free platform that provides thousands of web pages for users.

    Chances are, you have already visited Google at least once today. Say you searched for flights or hotels: Google prioritized its own flights and hotel engines in the results it provided you. Maybe you asked Google a question. If Google showed you a featured snippet with the answer, you never had to leave its platform. As a result, the publisher that created that content didn’t get rewarded with traffic or the opportunity to show you an advertisement.

    These are called “zero click” searches. With virtual assistants, they are increasing every year. Now, more than half of Google searches end without a click.

    Many see this lawsuit as long overdue. Others have argued that even if the Department of Justice is successful, breaking up Google is not the right answer. But the DOJ’s complaint asks for “structural relief” to restore competitive conditions. Although vague, it leaves open many possibilities for regulating a platform that has become the gatekeeper of the internet.

    As an SEO, I know there are steps Google could take right now to be less monopolistic. It could divest key services like YouTube and Gmail, which reduce competition in search. Lastly, it could open up a free API that allows developers to build on top of its search engine without having to actually go to to do it.

    If Google implemented these changes, nothing would really change for its users. But more platforms competing for searches more transparency, and a push for quality traffic and improved performance.

    In their original paper, The Anatomy of a Search Engine, Sergey Brin and Larry Page wrote that, “The most important measure of a search engine is the quality of its search results.” Google has been a source of democratization in every industry except its own. If this lawsuit results in improved transparency about how search, Adwords, Adsense, Youtube, and Gmail monetize and leverage each other, it would be a major win.

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    Tuesday's federal lawsuit marks a rare moment of agreement between the Trump administration and progressive DEMOCRATS.

    Senator Elizabeth Warren tweeted, using the hash tag #BreakUpBigTech, that she wanted "swift, aggressive action."

    The filing's timing fulfills a promise made by President Trump to hold companies to account for stifling conservative voices.

    Social media companies, including Google, often take action to reduce the spread of conservative viewpoints on their platforms.

    11 states joined the lawsuit.

    More lawsuits could be in the offing, since probes by state attorneys general into Google's broader businesses are under way, as well as an investigation of its digital advertising businesses. Attorneys general are expected to file a separate lawsuit focused on digital advertising as soon as November, while a group led by Colorado is contemplating a more expansive lawsuit against Google.

    The lawsuit comes more than a year after the Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission began antitrust investigations into four big tech companies: Inc , Apple, Facebook Inc and Google.

    Seven years ago, the FTC settled an antitrust probe into Google over alleged bias in its search function to favor its products, among other issues. The settlement came over the objections of some FTC staff attorneys.

    Google has faced similar legal challenges overseas.

    The European Union fined Google $1.7 billion in 2019 for stopping websites from using Google's rivals to find advertisers, $2.6 billion in 2017 for favoring its own shopping business in search, and $4.9 billion in 2018 for blocking rivals on its wireless Android operating system.

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