Google has responded to an anti-trust lawsuit filed by the Justice Department, challenging the lawsuit by stating that quality updates on the Search platform are beneficial to small businesses and local economies. The initial arguments by Google also suggest that any restrictions on their search engine development would conversely harm businesses. The lawsuit is not the first to challenge’s Google’s dominance on the search engine market and is not likely to diminish Google’s search engine powerhouse.
The lawsuit argues that Google made strategic acquisitions with the largest cell phone manufacturers, including Apple and Samsung, to set Google as a default search engine on smartphones. Justice Department attorneys argue that acquisitions by Google to integrate their search engine into leading smartphone brands has an anti-competitive effect on other emerging high-quality search engines like DuckDuckGo. Leaders at Google refuted generalizations made in the lawsuit, such as the company’s trillion dollar value, based on distinctions between the parent company Alphabet and Google itself.
Adam Cohen, the Director of Economic policy at Google, countered the overarching anti-competitive themes within the lawsuit. Cohen stated that Google’s quality improvements to featured snippets, keyword algorithm modifications, and user-friendliness updates on Google Search are crucial to supporting diverse economies that include small businesses. His arguments stressed the important of search engine visibility in generating sales and revenue for businesses of all sizes:
To get more specifically to the issues raised in today’s lawsuit: it suggests we shouldn’t have worked to make Search better and that we should, in fact, be less useful to you [says Cohen]. When you search for local products and services, we show information that helps you connect with businesses directly and helps them reach more customers. This lawsuit demands changes to the design of Google Search, requiring us to prominently feature online middlemen in place of direct connections to businesses.
Redesigning Google Search this way would harm the quality of your search results. And it would come at the expense of businesses like retailers, restaurants, repair shops, airlines and hotels whose listings in Google help them get discovered, and connect directly with customers. They would have a harder time reaching new customers and competing against big commerce and travel platforms and other aggregators and middlemen.
The Justice Department’s filing follows various other lawsuits that challenge other tech monopolies and major technology firms, including Facebook, according to the New York Times. Additionally, Google is also facing other antitrust lawsuits related to their advertising platform. There has been no official comment on the latest lawsuit from the Justice Department or U.S Attorney’s General office.
Is Google in trouble? Will Google still remain the top search engine?
The simple answer to both of these questions is no. Even after combing through the Justice Department’s 45 page filling, or the development of other big tech lawsuits, there is no significant risk of Google losing their top spot in the search engine market.
Google’s sheer volume of users and annual searches, along with significant quality updates, has allowed businesses to successfully market their goods and services digitally. In 2021, Google will provide a crucially important outlet for marketing.
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