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Google digital advertising antitrust litigation [pdf] (courtlistener.com)
718 points by pg_bot 36 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 258 comments



249. The speed benefits Google marketed were also at least partly a result of Google’s throttling. Google throttles the load time of non-AMP ads by giving them artificial one-second delays in order to give Google AMP a “nice comparative boost.” Throttling non-AMP ads slows down header bidding, which Google then uses to denigrate header bidding for being too slow. “Header Bidding can often increase latency of web pages and create security flaws when executed incorrectly,” Google falsely claimed. Internally, Google employees grappled with “how to [publicly] justify [Google] making something slower.”

I’d be seriously ashamed at this point if I was a Google employee assigned to AMP.


> Google throttles the load time of non-AMP ads by giving them artificial one-second delays in order to give Google AMP a “nice comparative boost.”

That's it. Webmasters should give all visitors with a Chrome user agent a loading penalty of 1 second and a popup saying that the website runs faster on Firefox.

I said it before on HN, but the idea was condemned, and I partially agreed, but now it seems (at least to me) a fully justifiable strategy to make users win back power.


IMO Action should be taken against Google here, not the average user (about 70% of whom use Chrome).

Throttling based on user agent (Firefox, WebKit Safari, etc) would be a bad thing if you ran YouTube and wanted to encourage people to use Chrome - it would likewise be bad if you ran a website like HN.

Users have power when they have control - Google is taking that away, and that's why antitrust legislation makes sense. But users lose power when their choice of browser (in a market where there are only 2-3 choices) makes their web experience artificially worse.


Then consider the 1 second delay as an advertisement for consumer power. Google/YouTube annoys users with similar or even longer delays all the time. So I don't think you can see this as an "action against the user", unless you consider all non-user-tracking advertisements as an action against the user.

Also, the campaign can stop when Chrome and Firefox reach an equal user-base. So "the user losing freedom of choice of browser" is also not a strong argument.

Yes, it's sad that this seems necessary, but you can't fight corporate evilness with just goodwill. In a sense, this is somewhat similar to the paradox of tolerance [1].

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paradox_of_tolerance


Nice link!


> Webmasters should give all visitors with a Chrome user agent a loading penalty of 1 second and a popup saying that the website runs faster on Firefox

it's for ads:

> Google throttles the load time of non-AMP ads by giving them artificial one-second delays

so would need to limit the +1 second for ads to be equivalent, but you could just run "ads" for ad blockers instead :)


More info on 1-second delay when discussed last year:

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=25449389

It started as a 1-second delay for all ads, but then they found a technical way to allow for ads made with AMP to load sooner.


> I’d be seriously ashamed at this point if I was a Google employee assigned to AMP.

"No single raindrop believes it is to blame for the flood." [1]

[1] https://despair.com/products/irresponsibility


I've been screenshotting despair.com posters for over 10 years. I can't believe they're still around. I really should buy something from them someday.


This is why principles are important. Living by a well considered and thoughtful set of beliefs, secular or otherwise, has an impact on the world. Even if things look hopeless, your actions contribute to the way life unfolds for everyone else. Even if things look trivial, not engaging in minor infractions against your beliefs is withholding that single drop from the flood.

I won't ever use tiktok, and speak against it to friends and family when questioned. I support the use of Signal and promote basic digital literacy, lending my time to help people learn about encryption and protecting their personal information, even in seemingly trivial things like not playing quiz games on social media.

I don't believe in a monolithic big brother spying on individuals, but there is a collective impact of all of those systems, if which Google Amp plays a big part. It normalized the idea that centralizing the gateways to content was a good thing, regardless of Google's intentions. It usurped control of a minor piece of web functionality that gave Google a big competitive advantage.

People have been commoditized by getting them to give up private data without understanding what it is they're giving up. At a very basic level, you could look at Facebook - they have 3 billion members and make 30 billion dollars a year - someone's data is worth $10usd per year on average. Similar valuations can be applied to other companies, but Google is getting around $150 billion a year for advertising. If you could assign a weight to people, some would be worth far more than others, and even entirely boring and innocent profiles are damaging to consumers, because they're providing baselines that enable further and more nuanced manipulation.

It's such an insidious and subtle injury to society that getting people to even notice litigation like this suit is difficult. Getting them to care, when the attitude of "I've got nothing to hide" is hugely demoralizing to people who do care.

Gross anticompetitive actions are a part of the problem, but the reckless use of algorithms that influence exposure to information, its context, and its timing is a huge, hairy deal, but even amongst techies it's hard to communicate why.

We are collectively wireheading in a way the majority of humans don't have the knowledge or education to recognize as dangerous. The knock-on effects are sometimes many degrees of separation from any single company's actions or behavior, and there doesn't have to be a human in the loop for the algorithms to poison the future of a society.

The agency of individuals is stolen by systems like Amp - a drop in the digital flood that is drowning liberty and sovereignty. It creates a system that gets abused for profit or politics or ideology. It reinforces the arms race in surveillance technology, but a vast majority of people are content with the idea that they have nothing to hide, not realizing that they are choosing to grant control over the information they will be allowed to consume anywhere within the ecosystem they engaged with.

FAANG's actions subtly influence the behavior of billions of humans. Innocuous and trite misbehavior on their part gets amplified far beyond what anyone would predict, and we have almost nothing in human history to measure against. These institutions have to be held to a higher standard, and societies all over the world must work to make private information a resource entirely and absolutely controlled by the user.


It always blows my mind seeing the things people who work at google/fb are willing to "walk out" / "protest" over, and then these insidious things they're willing to just sit back and let happen.

When I moved to the bay area working at FB/Google was something I held in high regard and was a career goal of mine. Now I get hit up by recruiters from them often... and I don't message them back. It hurts thinking about how much money I leave on the table by not working there, but I just don't think if I could live with myself if I became a contributing member of their dystopian nightmare machine.

It all starts with the people who work there. If you work at google or facebook, you're part of it. You're culpable. It's not like I don't understand the calculus and not like the right dollar amount wouldn't corrupt my position as well, but I wish more people were honest/forthright about it. You're a storm trooper.


> It always blows my mind seeing the things people who work at google/fb are willing to "walk out" / "protest" over, and then these insidious things they're willing to just sit back and let happen.

symbolic action is always easy. but you're asking them to strike (refuse to work) in response to unethical demands, without the collective backing of their peers, in an industry that views union activity with - at best - suspicion or outright derision. we all like to fancy that we'd be the ones to refuse to play along but the reality is that when it's you and your job and you're facing the possibility of not paying rent or eating food after being blacklisted from the industry in response to your actions...

don't judge the people who are doing what they have to in order to survive. they were compelled by people who had leverage over them and our ire should be for those people.


> but you're asking them to strike (refuse to work) in response to unethical demands, without the collective backing of their peers,

We are not talking about some poor sod blue collar worker here. We are talking about techworkers with 6 figure salaries who can get a job anywhere. No one is asking them to start some movement. They can simply think: "I don't want to be a part of this", leave the job and get a new job that same day.

> don't judge the people who are doing what they have to in order to survive. they were compelled by people who had leverage over them and our ire should be for those people.

Tech workers with 6 figure salaries who can get a job pretty much anywhere they like are doing these things to survive? Seriously...? Google had leverage over these people? How?


Bullshit.

How many minimum wage employees does Google have in the Bay Area? We’re talking about a class of six figure employees here.

Like he said, you’re a storm trooper, just own it.


They're creating an infrastructure of manipulation because of the collective impact of the industry within the current legal context of international privacy protections. Any individual project or feature can look trivial or harmless, like manipulating the order of articles in a feed, but the systems used to do it are mechanisms implicitly susceptible to bad incentives.

They're collectively pressing buttons and breaking things in the global psychology, influencing the zeitgeist in a way that no one person or company intends. Obama's campaign was the first major successful political use of that infrastructure and there's an argument to be made that Trump's election was enabled by it. Cambridge Anallytica exposed some of the controls and showed a portion of what can be done, but we haven't seen the worst yet. International troll farms, the recent infiltration of Christian and BLM Twitter and reddit, and so on.

When people are profiled by advanced algorithms, and access to people given based on those profiles, that access can be made completely transparent using deanonymizing methods through data from other sources. Any and every platform, forum, and community becomes exposed to hostile, unintended influence.

We need outsized fines that protect private data as if it were sacred such that a trillion dollar company would fear even a single violation. Such that violating privacy would result in individuals going bankrupt or prison time. Such that physically bombing a foreign datacenter would be seen as reasonable recourse if they were uncooperative.

There are things that no government or private organization should have absent the informed consent of users because of the implicit danger to society's basic functioning.


I work in big tech

I selected all my previous companies because they seemed to have a worthy mission from the outside. Each disappointed me immensely. At startup scale you have to see the sausage be made or at least sit next to it.

I know big tech companies have too much power because every other company I’ve worked at would be most accurately described as an unscrupulous Rube Goldberg machine for moving money from VCs to ads+cloud.

Do what works for you, but don’t be so sure you’re engaging in a “better” way with this late-capitalist hellscape. I feel so much better aligned getting paid by big tech to build cool tools for engineers than I did getting paid to knife fight for their scraps.


> than I did getting paid to knife fight for their scraps.

Seriously, cut the drama. Amazon fulfillment workers can say they are "getting paid to knife fight for their scraps.". There is no way that statement needs to apply to tech workers.

It sounds as if you are forgetting there is a world outside silicon valley, startups and fortune 500 companies. In most countries SMB's account for almost 50% of the economy.

> I feel so much better aligned getting paid by big tech to build cool tools for engineers

Well thats actually an honest statement; You want money, cool toys and these outweigh any moral concerns with big tech.


At one company I was asked to make demos of things that didn’t work and never would. I listened to the ceo lie to the faces of law enforcement and gov bigwig potential customers as they paraded themselves around the room behind us, watching the tech geniuses work their magic. I witnessed junior employees get screamed at routinely, more or less for being junior.

The company before that overrode all engineering complaints and implemented call to cancel because it made money. My boss had to do it himself.

Both companies competed in a way not unlike a knife fight, meaning throw ethics out the window and pull every lever you can think of. Both had very few happy customers, and rolled every penny into ads and cloud spend, operating at a sickening loss despite locking b2b customers into large monthly contracts.

This is my experience in the industry. The company before that didn’t even pay me and jerked me around about options that weren’t worth anything anyway.

Your response seems quite uncharitable. I mentioned getting paid on both sides, so yes it’s important. I would like to retire some day and live in modest comfort until then. I have young children and happily live in the sf bay.

I said nothing about cool toys. I like that I get to work on a passion project that will likely be open source some day. I like that my customers are engineers and that they chat with me directly.

Generally speaking, if a company isn’t doing every legal (and possibly illegal but unlikely to be enforced) thing to gain competitive advantage, it will be out competed. It is the responsibility of the government to keep the laws up to date.

Companies are not good. They can sometimes be owned by people who are willing to sacrifice profits for warm fuzzy feelings, but that’s an unstable position that will be corrected when ownership changes.

I feel secure knowing I work for a company that turns a large profit and has already pulled all the levers available to them to make more. Less nasty surprises that way.


The problem is that "worthy mission" is incompatible with being a public company for the most part. Once your mandate is not profitability but growth, some cohort of people at the company will push for that growth in ways that others think is unacceptable, and they will hide these programs because they know some will objects and those that would object are incentivized from all sides and from themselves to not want to see them.

Private companies have a much better chance of actually following those missions(at least if not struggling). At a minimum, not as many incentives are aligned against you.


Incredibly powerful summary of a dismal state of affairs. How did it come to that?

I feel we are massivelly overrating the level of governance, competence and ability to manage our overall "success" as modern societies

This was already quite evident with the financial crisis and came down as a hammer with the pandemic crisis and the ultimate dead-end of the climate crisis.

The denerate, dystopic, digital universe we have evolved into is not perceived as a systemic crisis. Massive data breaches are normalized. The obvious manipulation and influence of political processess the world over are shrugged off. The feudalization of economic life is portrayed as desirable "disruption". But it is really a slow moving car crash and there is no indication we have mechanisms to steer away from the deterministic outcome.

Ironically, it is almost certain that better governance would have to be based on suitable digital tools and networks. There is an alternate Philip K. Dick universe out there but we need some magic quantum tunnel to get to it.


Just wait until Facebook cracks the tech needed to mediate all person-to-person interactions via VR/AR. We are in big trouble if nothing changes.


This is a longer way of saying “A man has to live by a code”. Sadly that’s very rare these days :(


That was beautifully put. You articulated what I think a lot of have been feeling but have a hard time putting into words.


They're also pushing for the adoption of Signed HTTP Exchanges, with several Google employees defending the spec here on HN, comparing it to be merely like HTTPS in terms of publishers giving up control over their content.

It's clear that Chrome must be separated from Google and Alphabet, nothing else will stop them from trying to colonize the web.


equating it to be merely like HTTPS in terms of publishers giving up control over their content.

Where did you read that? I was under the impression that SXG is more similar to things like IPFS, where you can have content signed by its origin (or in IPFS, content addressed by its hash). Once that is achieved, any other site (e.g. a CDN like Google or Cloudflare) can cache and serve it securely and with authentication.

You can sign whatever content you want with SXG, it isn't limited to AMP.


> It's clear that Chrome must be separated from Google and Alphabet, nothing else will stop them from trying to colonize the web.

Or advocate for open alternatives, use Firefox, and make sure any site you build (or you build at work) work perfectly in non Chrome browsers.


The real problem is that Google/Chrome basically run the internet. If Google decides to change some internet standard, Firefox and web developers all follow suite like lemmings. It's like Google has become the authoritative leader in web without any sort of process or watchdog. Aside from getting people off of Chrome, the other need is to get people to stop following Google's leadership on all things web.


> The real problem is that Google/Chrome basically run the internet.

Only because we let them. We gave them web domination, we the nerds told everyone and their mother to install Chrome so they do out of habit now.

We sit and watch while Google bend the web to their will with AMP and dozens of non standard specs everyone hurriedly tries to support while we come up with excuses like "it faster", "the dev tools in chrome are better".

Without a monopolistic marketshsre we give them they can't do this as easily.

Go install Firefox and make it your default browser. Or just carry on using Chrome and wonder why Google keep getting away with doing antisocial, anti consumer shit.


> If Google decides to change some internet standard, Firefox and web developers all follow suite like lemmings.

This works because they have such a large market share. It's a chicken/egg problem. Switching to Firefox is the best most of us can do to achieve the goal of "getting people to stop following Google's leadership on all things web."


> Or advocate for open alternatives

Yes, supporting other browsers is a given, but did you want to say "and advocate"? Advocating for alternatives alone will achieve close to nothing when you are faced with a cartel, regulatory action is desperately needed in this industry.


In case anyone reading is unaware Google already inserts artificial delay into page loading times, to allow for header bidding. Online advertising proponents would argue this delay is below human perception. But the perceptibility of the wait should be for users, not Google, to decide; it is artifical and undisclosed delay, for the benefit of advertising. If users were told about it and could avoid it, no doubt they would. As we can see, artificial delay can be used as an anticompetitive measure.

These tactics, similar to deliberately introduced incompatibilities or performance differences, are old hat. For example, through the 90's, third party software for Windows never ran as smoothly as software issued by Microsoft. It was not the same "user experience". So long as this sort of conduct remains "legal", these companies interpret that as permission to engage in it.


So much software is too slow today. I don't think developers remember that users will not perceive your software as instant if you don't get the result in 100ms.

I cancelled my evernote subscription because it is too slow to start up. If I need to access a note on my phone, I don't want it to take perceived time, because then I have to go through the effort of remembering what I am trying to write.

I have switched to Apple notes, which seem to get this.


At two large tech companies I worked for, people loved to throw around the term “blink of an eye!” to justify anything around 100ms

“Oh, that’ll load in the blink of an eye! Only as much latency as the blink of an eye!” etc

It was damn frustrating to try and explain to these clowns that things look like crap if you pile up 2+ blinks of an eye on top of them. In the case of VR, even one “blink of an eye” is about 10x too much delay


> it is artifical and undisclosed delay, for the benefit of advertising

So ad blocking makes everything faster!


> Google already inserts artificial delay into page loading times, to allow for header bidding.

How does this allow for header bidding? Anything needed could be done in page or with a connection that delays the response until some condition is met.

The browser adding an artificial delay seems like it's just a way for the browser to control the process, and when the browser is controlled by an ad network, that makes me very suspicious as to the motives for an artificial delay.


Is this delay on the HTML page being served? Or on the associated (ad-loading) scripts?


“The design of it was discussed in https://github.com/ampproject/amphtml/issues/3133. It wasn't done nefariously. AMP prioritizes the page content and verified elements first over non-AMP content (including non-AMP ads).”

From an older discussion https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=25448718


Good grief. AMP always looked fishy, but to be as blatantly abusive as this? It's indefensible.

Google has to be broken up.


It's sort of amazing how people are boosting this lawsuit up to the front page of HN dozens of times over three days, without really seeming to grasp that it is one side of a civil law suit, and that anyone would be a fool to take a filing like this at face value. It's a little thin on evidence, don't you think?

Normally when the attorneys general of Kentucky and South Dakota put their heads together about something, the rest of us point and laugh. But when they put together a document that looks like the top 1000 most-unhinged HN comments from users like `ocdtrekkie`, critical thinking gets thrown under a bus and it's 100% pure credulity.


Newcorp and the other media's anti google campaign has worked flawlessly. Even techies boarded the train and now think Google is worse than Microsoft or Apple. At worst Google is as bad as Microsoft or Apple if all the things the articles accuse them of is true.

I don't work for Google nor own Google stocks, but among the things I am afraid of Google using its position to capture a bit too much of the ad-market is among the least of those, and that is ultimately what all these accusations boils down to. User data is for ads, these anti-competitive practices are for ads etc. If ads is the peak of their evil then I'd say they aren't terribly evil.

Google's biggest sin was to sit in the way of news media profits, that caused a barrage of articles written by news media companies targeted at them. I'd say that is evidence of news media being evil, not Google being evil.


Secretly colluding in backroom deals to intentionally hamstring privacy protections seems pretty unambiguously... bad? Can you explain how anything Microsoft or Apple has done has worse implications for society?


Both Microsoft and Apple happily collaborates with CCP, that is a big one that Google still doesn't do. Then both Microsoft and Apple often performs huge patent litigations for nonsense patents they spam, Google doesn't. Both Apple and Microsoft uses their industry dominance to push their own products and push others products out of the market, Google does that as well but before it seemed they didn't do it at the same rates, but this lawsuit would put Google at roughly the same level of Microsoft and Apple.


> Both Microsoft and Apple happily collaborates with CCP, that is a big one that Google still doesn't do.

Google has offices in China.


But its services aren't available in China. Both Apple and Microsoft runs services like search or appstore in China. You can't access Google search or Google appstore in China since Google refuses to hand over the related user data to CCP, both Microsoft and Apple hands over that data to CCP and works to help CCP censor its critics.

I agree that the "don't be evil" part of Google has mostly run out, but some of the effects are still there or Google would already be operating in China just like Apple or Microsoft. So until they do operate services in China I'll say that they aren't more evil than Microsoft or Apple who do operate services in China.


My point is that if they're allowed to operate in China, then they have to bend to the will of, and collaborate with, the CCP if they want to remain there.


But the argument is evilness. That is a problem, but I don't see how that makes Google more evil than Apple or Microsoft that has already bent to the will of CCP with seemingly no complaints.

My argument is basically: Over the past 10 years Google has made great strides towards becoming as evil as a typical big corporation. They are about there today, not sure if they are there or just soon to be, but they are certainly not significantly more evil than the other big corporations.


> Apple or Microsoft that has already bent to the will of CCP with seemingly no complaints.

Apple certainly gets complaints for their cooperation with the CCP and for their CCP-sponsored censorship in China, HK, and abroad. You can search my HN comments on Algolia and see that I've complained about it plenty of times before.


Sour meta comments are boring, especially when they rope in unrelated personal beefs you have with individual users like ocdtrekkie. That was a little much.

Consider posting something like https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=28977462, which inspired a lot of sub comments and a good on topic discussion, vs yours, which produced “haha Kentucky and South Dakota”, “Microsoft/Apple bad”, “gigantic evil news cabal”, and “HN is dumb”.


People are being awfully credulous of two sentence fragments quoted in an editorial paragraph. Much of this could certainly be true but my bullshit meter is going off on the level of narrative they're reconstructing in all the non-quoted portions.

I dislike AMP because the UX is bad and Google strong armed it in the news carousel anyways instead of focusing on performance for all sites, but this would be a lot more convincing with the source emails entered into the record.

edit: and this is just talking about ad content, right? Unless somehow a publisher made their entire page blocked until the page's ads load, throttling the load of ads would just make the ads load slower. And from what cletus quotes in another comment:

> To respond to the threat of header bidding, Google created Accelerated Mobile Pages (“AMP”), a framework for developing mobile web pages, and made AMP essentially incompatible with JavaScript and header bidding. Google then used its power in the search market to effectively force publishers into using AMP.

Is the claim that ads in AMP pages don't run javascript or do header bidding and so are "fast", but javascript and header bidding isn't inherently slow so Google could have made them faster (and/or not intentionally throttled)? I've never worked much with ads so maybe someone with knowledge of header bidding can comment.


> People are being awfully credulous of two sentence fragments quoted in an editorial paragraph. Much of this could certainly be true but my bullshit meter is going off on the level of narrative they're reconstructing in all the non-quoted portions.

This is not an editorial document, it’s a legal complaint by the Attorneys General of 17 U.S. states and commonwealths demanding a jury trial (among other things). The allegations are unproven at this point. The demanded trial process (discovery, examination, etc.) is what will provide the evidence.

One way or another though, we’re going to see if all of these claims are true. It just will take some time.


> This is not an editorial document, it’s a legal complaint by the Attorneys General

It's definitely both, they know their audience is not limited to the court. Performative filings by attorneys general happen all the time, and being able to set the narrative and put the other party on the defensive is absolutely part of this process, for good or bad.


>This is not an editorial document, it’s a legal complaint by the Attorneys General of 17 U.S. states and commonwealths demanding a jury trial (among other things).

While I agree that Google is anticompetitive, I don't think that specific detail gives as much weight as you think it does (or indeed should). The courts have had a notoriously bad history with understanding tech, and being part of a formal legal process is only weak evidence that a complaint has merit.


I don't think that was necessarily meant to convey weight towards a position of belief, but instead to just clarify the situation. They immediately followed up with "the allegations are unproven" and "we'll eventually see".


Bullshit meter?

It seems to me this is yet another validation that Google is an ad sales company hell bent on preventing competition, controlling the market and lying to end users and integrators. All of these pieces are adding up - what was conjecture is finally being validated and I, personally, believe that Google is not in it for the good of the customer, but are only in it for a profit. Death to Google by thousands of cuts like this? Game on.

I've said it before, sales organizations only base performance on profit. It is the toxin that defines all of this misbehaviour. Nobody "thinks" they're doing anything wrong because it's talked about as benefiting the shareholder. Google isn't immune to this.


> It seems to me this is yet another validation

That's just what I mean. There's a tiny amount of validation and a lot of rhetoric. It would be preferable to be able to see the actual sources they're quoting from.


Just because the floodgates haven't opened with all of the insight you may want doesn't mean it's not valid - re: "bullshit meter".

Google has an army of the best in legal and part of their play is limiting this information from ever being seen. I'm curious, what would be enough validation to pass your sniff test? And are you saying you think this is being overblown?


> I'm curious, what would be enough validation to pass your sniff test?

From my first post:

> but this would be a lot more convincing with the source emails entered into the record

:)


That's what discovery is for. You don't usually see evidence like that in the initial filings.


Validation? What else you want validated as I can whip up a doc with some claims about things without source/proof too.


>"People are being awfully credulous of two sentence fragments quoted in an editorial paragraph."

The pdf that this page links to includes much more than two sentence fragments on the topic.


But not the documents these quotes come from, as far as I can tell.


I agree, but this seems pretty typical for an initial filing. They don't typically show all their cards. So snippets like:

>Internally, Google employees grappled with “how to [publicly] justify [Google] making something slower.”

Could be more, or less interesting, when the actual source document is published.

There's some more detail in a highly redacted document here: https://www.texasattorneygeneral.gov/sites/default/files/ima...

"In Google’s words, the [redacted] program [redacted]. Next, Google tried to come up with other creative ways to shut out competition from exchanges in header bidding. During one internal debate, a Google employee proposed a [redacted]. A second employee captured Google’s ultimate aim of destroying header bidding altogether, noting in response that [redacted]"


> A second employee captured Google’s ultimate aim of destroying header bidding altogether, noting in response that [redacted]

So from a probably naive view, getting rid of header bidding seems like it would be faster, not slower. Is the assertion being made that it isn't faster and it just so happens to also enrich the ad network?


Yes, you're right. It's faster not to have it, but that puts publishers at a disadvantage...Google reaps more revenue and gives less in return if it doesn't exist. Header bidding is often estimated to improve revenue by 10% or so for publishers.

The sequence was first employee probably said something like "make it slower if they aren't on AMP", and the second employee made some kind of suggestion to kill it altogether.


If you need to keep revenue graphs going up and to the right, because that's the primary KPI your unit is judged on, at some point it's technically easier to handicap competition than improve your own offering.

I think this gives us a timestamp on when Google got there.


It does seem like the GOOGL shareholder expectation of compounded perpetual YoY revenue gains of > 25% leads to bad places. The YoY growth of end users is much smaller. Something like 5%. So at some point, the inflated expectations have to mean a dirty playbook.


> It does seem like the GOOGL shareholder expectation of compounded perpetual YoY revenue gains of > 25% leads to bad places

Yeah it seems bizarre that they would try to hold on to that big of growth and not moderate it if this is the method to get it because there's no way it can be sustainably grown for long, but I guess if you're a VP only focused on this quarter's goals and the bonus you'll get out of it, it doesn't really much matter if growth craters a year or two out. You can cash out long before then.


Well, and nobody normally wakes up and says "I'm going to bend the law really hard and create a potential PR disaster, just because."

They do often say "My bonuses are tied to growth, and my management is putting extreme pressure on me to deliver something that's impossible, and I don't see any way of delivering it in the expected time... so I'm going to do it the only way I see."



>Or more accurately, the analogy would be if [redacted] were a monopoly financial broker and owned the [redacted] which was a monopoly stock exchange.

Can someone who has a better understand of legal proceedings explain what purpose these redactions serve?


> The speed benefits Google marketed were also at least partly a result of Google’s throttling. Google throttles the load time of non-AMP ads by giving them artificial one-second delays in order to give Google AMP a “nice comparative boost.”

wow i love when Silicon Valley literally throws away people's time. imagine the cumulative total time being wasted by this artificial delay...


our time -> their money. our identity -> their money. our whereabouts -> their money.

our society ?->?


their business.


I’m on my phone so I can’t find it now, but I remember an elaborate GitHub or chrome dev thread where users and google devs explored the 1 second delay in depth, and a reason for it relating to an issue where some ads could break or fail to load without the delay. Not sure how legitimate my memory is, but I recall folks on hn defending it at the time.


Wow, I feel naive now for defending AMP providing better user experience. As it turns out, Google is evil and I simply did not want to believe it.


It's crazy to me that the team dedicated to AMP had no control and awareness of any schemes were pulled behind their back. This is such a huge org problem.

Unless, of course, the team leadership was on it and this was an insider job.


If the allegations are true, they knew exactly what was happening and even took steps to make it seem like Google was not in full control of AMP.

Whether front line engineers knew isn't that important. AMP Leadership definitely did.


> AMP Leadership definitely did.

did they though? couldn't this be a small (artificial delay) library injected server side by some higher ups at Google?


See page 90:

> Google ad server employees met with AMP employees to strategize about using AMP to impede header bidding, addressing in particular how much pressure publishers and advertisers would tolerate.


thank you for finding (and posting) this.


I guess that depends: do we believe that AMP developers and leadership did this, possibly misguided by a promise from on high of “don’t worry, this is normal,” or do we believe that higher-ups were doing secret development work that went unnoticed by everyone else?

I think it’s easier to believe that the AMP team was simply naive, or willfully blind to the implications, or they didn’t care (probably all 3; teams are big enough that there’s room for all).


There were people defending AMP? Everything I've heard about it was backlash


AMP was a historical irritant for me, and I do recall the tide turning over time. It was initially hard to criticize it here without your comments being downvoted pretty hard. There were a set of defenders that believed it was solely about page loading time, and that any "trojan horse" accusations were from conspiracy theorists.

I think part of it was that the AMP team members were active here, and seemed genuine and competent. I'm somewhat curious how much they knew. This delay thing wasn't the only terrible part of AMP. The initial banner with the [x] button that sent you back to Google was terrible. As is the still-present hijacking of swipes and back button behavior on other people's content.

I did an Algolia comment search and can see my AMP rants getting more traction over a 4 year period.

Edit: I think it also had defenders because it forced sites like news organizations to re-think their 20MB+ ad and tracker laden story pages. So it wasn't all bad.


>I think it also had defenders because it forced sites like news organizations to re-think their 20MB+ ad and tracker laden story pages. So it wasn't all bad.

This was mainly it. Modern basically-just-text-content sites are hilariously bloated and slow, and this seemed like a genuine attempt to fix it. I remember I defended it for those reasons. It didn't pan out that way, though.

Also, I definitely remember AMP critics, or at least skeptics, getting plenty of upvotes from the very beginning, I'm not sure it was that hard to criticize.


for me, amp loaded quicker and had way less shit on it that took ages to load (like videos, tracking and stupid animations)

Webdevs moaned because it restricted what they could do, which is partially why I liked it. They had to build a page that was fast, rather than fancy.

However I do see the downsides, as google owns the stack, limits your choice.


If you want something more restricted then just use RSS. It’s not centralized like AMP.


RSS only gave/gives me a headline. Its fairly rare that the entire article is available via RSS.

Also is doesn't help for dynamic search. The main situation I'm thinking of is I'm on moble searching for something thats hosted by a local news site. the AMP page generally loads in <2 seconds. The original page will take 5 megs of data, and ages to load.


How centralised is AMP in theory and in practise?


Every client everywhere donates Referrer: logs to ampproject.org, which Google run. It's another centralized web log in disguise


So it's not centralized at all in other words? Because it's an open standard that anyone can implement, both client and server, right?

100% totally decentralized.


AMP requires you load all JS assets from cdnproject.org, which is owned by Google. It is as centralized as it comes


AMP does not require any such thing. Anyone can implement the AMP cache, there are multiple existing AMP caches, and you can serve AMP without a cache, without in any way impairing the function of an AMP page.

https://github.com/ampproject/amphtml/blob/main/docs/spec/am...


https://github.com/ampproject/amphtml/issues/27546

Perhaps I'm wrong, but my interpretation of this ticket is that Google's AMP validator currently does not validate self-hosted JS, which means no special handling ("acceleration") on their search results.


4/9 of the technical steering committee are Google employees, and 3 others are from big tech platforms (Pinterest, Microsoft, Twitter)

https://github.com/ampproject/meta-tsc/blob/master/README.md


AMP does have better experience from the users perspective. The backlash is from the techies only.

I assumed that the non-amp websites were slower due to the JS bloat, I still despise what the Web pages has become, however it turns out Google wasn't a honest broker here and instead of providing a tool that helps them and the users, they provided a tool that helps them and harms the users and bullies the website owners. That's evil and drains the last bits of trust I had left for Google.


Everything about AMP is strictly worse in my experience.

In Australia, AMP pages load slower, not faster.

AMP breaks the iPhone Safari user interface, by not actually scrolling the whole page.

The URLs don't represent the actual site to which the user will navigate.

Logins break.

App-integrated links don't work properly.

And on and on.

AMP is a cancer on the web enforced by a monopoly for their own shady purposes.


On Android, Google Translate in Safari doesn't work on AMP pages which I find somewhat ironic.


> AMP does have better experience from the users perspective. The backlash is from the techies only.

This is factually incorrect: as the allegations noted, there are many cases where AMP slows page load time – it required a megabyte of render-blocking JavaScript with no fallback. I could tell which sites used AMP because they loaded slower and failed entirely if you had a less than perfect network connection — this was quite noticeable on the subway here in DC. I heard plenty of normal people complaining about it because it was a daily occurrence.

In addition to scrolling, the other thing which people noticed was that AMP broke the URL for sharing. This had several outcomes: one was that desktop users often got less usable mobile pages but the other was that it made spoofing easier because people trusted the google.com domain. This was used by fake news sites in the 2016 election cycle and at least the Russian government used it to spearphish investigative journalists.

They knew all of those risks in advance — and people accurately predicted them in 2015 – and the stated motivation was hard to reconcile with how much less work it would have taken to see the performance benefits by simply incorporating speed into search rankings at a high weight; this suggests that theories about the goal of controlling third-party ad markets were correct.


AMP had an (intentional..?) bug on Firefox for years, making it impossible to scroll in the internal page.

Luckily it wasn't a big problem, since Google also intentionally gimped the search results to an old mobile version when using Fx, so one didn't get amp links.


At this point I always assume that it’s out of malice instead of incompetence. These kinds of smaller bugs for things that work by default are just too common for Google.


Yes - Google Cloud breaks console logins for Firefox on a regular basis. They’ll eventually respond to a bug report but it’s clearly not a priority, and that can’t be intentional when tiny open source projects have much better automated testing.


> Google also intentionally gimped the search results to an old mobile version when using Fx

I guess this is my reminder to mention once again that using a Chrome useragent on FF mobile gets you better search results. It's one of the extensions you can download on FF for Android right now, in fact.


FWIW Amplosion (paid iOS extension to automatically redirect AMP pages) is quite highly ranked on the app store.

It clearly isn't only techies that dislike it so much that they actually pay to get rid of AMP.


Could be, I can't remote-sense feelings but never heard of a non-techie complaining about it. It might have become annoying when sharing though, I think they later made it harder to find the non-amp link(The AMP link looks weird, as if you are sharing the wrong URL).

Anyway, the AMP experience was a fresh breath in the world of 10-20 seconds webpage loading times. You see the lightning icon, tap it and the content instantly comes. Swipe right and left to go through the other results and everything is displayed instantly, top notch experience - especially when Googling for stuff from the news websites.


I have found AMP to be an awful experience. It messes with native scrolling physics, pages are often incomplete or straight up broken. It also disables Reader mode on iOS so I'm always forced to load the full web page anyway. Luckily iOS 15 web extensions have solved that problem.


> It also disables Reader mode on iOS so I'm always forced to load the full web page anyway.

I agree. It's one of the imperfections of the AMP. I like AMP for quickly skimming between the results and then load the original page if I find something lengthy ro read.


It's not an imperfection, it's by design. Reader mode removes ads.

It also strips out all the crap the site's UX/UI people use to try and keep you on the site.


>never heard of a non-techie complaining about it.

I think most non-techies have no idea what AMP is to begin with.

It's just, once again, "my phone is doing some annoying and unexpected shit I didn't ask for".


To me it didn’t really make much of a difference other than preventing me from easily copying the URL.


Amp gives you non logged in versions of websites.

Anyone whos usually logged in somewhere is impacted negatively


Fair. So far there are three issues pointed out here that I'm not happy with too.

To re-cap:

1) Sharing AMP links is weird, feels wrong and Non-AMP links are hard to get

2) Breaks Safari's reader mode

3) Gives sub-par experience for websites that provide better experience when logged in since the AMP version is always the non-logged-in version.

None of those are deal-breaker for me because AMP pages come as a search results and fast loading results are very valuable for me when skimming to find the right one. Once I find it, I can switch to the full version(but Google makes it harder and harder. maybe this should be 4.).


The worst of AMP prior to this story, for me, was the carousel behavior. When AMP rolled out, any story you clicked from the carousel:

- Left and right swipe events were hijacked, and sent the user to somebody else's website with a related story!

- The back button would go to Google, even if you had right or left swiped as described above...that is, non-google pages were not in the history.

Then, not just carousel pages, these applied to all AMP pages:

- A very tall banner at the top pushed your content down. It had an [x] button that would send you back to the google search rather than the expected behavior of removing the banner.

- Finding the real url was 2 clicks deep

And then just the overall weird smugness about calling it an open standard. Even though the "open standard" required including a google-owned javascript file via a <script> tag, and the validator would fail you if you didn't. You weren't allowed to host it yourself.


4) if you don’t want amp it’s an extra click (once you’ve found the non-amp link) and going back then requires two clicks


I think you may even be overselling the user experience. I feel it was objectively confusing, because it changed the default behavior of the web. A regular user would have had no idea what was going on, just that their content was in front of them, so that's nice, but what next? Are they on Google or the website? When I click a new link why does the whole website change design, is this a different website now? What is going on.


It happens. Just make sure to remember this the next time you're tempted to assume a corporation is acting in good faith.


That’s criminal


You do have to wonder what impact this will have on the employment prospects of Google engineers in the unlikely event that it all blows up for Google. Having a toxic company on your resume is never a good thing.


It’s gonna be a long time before having Google on your resume is seen as anything but good


Not nearly as bad as Facebook.


Is FB on an engineering resume actually bad?


No, any household name megacorp on your resume is a good thing and a golden ticket to any job you want, evil or not


This tweet highlights Project NERA, which seems consistent with their actions to date.

> Google had a plan called "Project NERA" to turn the web into a walled garden they called "Not Owned But Operated". A core component of this was the forced logins to the chrome browser you've probably experienced (surprise!) [1]

This is classic 90s Microsoft playbook. Detangling the web from Google is getting harder and harder over time.

1: https://mobile.twitter.com/fasterthanlime/status/14520539415...


> Google wanted to be able to control and close off independent websites like The Dallas Morning News just as Google can control and close off its own sites like YouTube.

Worth noting that they have this ability today through HTTPS certificate management. The web increasingly moves to HTTPS (pushed by Google among others) and Google is also operating one of a small number of cert transparency logs - in addition to the Chrome browser.

If they don't like a site, they can blacklist the certificate in Chrome - to cut it off from Chrome users immediately - and block acceptance of new certificates from the CT log, which will cut off the site from other browsers once the current certificate expires.


No need for that, Google Safe Browsing exists if they want to.

However, I don’t think that Google is _that_ evil/willing to do so at this point.


A big discussion of that tweet can be found here: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=28974798


What a read. Almost every single paragraph in the document leaves me speechless. For example, quoting from the document:

"Google likes to claim that it will “never sell your personal information to anyone,” with Google CEO Sundar Pichai deceptively claiming that such a policy is “unequivocal.” But Google leverages intimate user data and personal information to broker billions of daily online ad impressions between publishers and advertisers that target individual users based almost entirely on their personal information. Internal documents confirm that Google knows its users are deceived by its misrepresentations, even as it reaps billions from ads that use personal data to target those users. In Orwellian terms, it’s a beautiful thing for Google, the destruction of words like “sell” and “personal.”"

Or:

"Google presents a public image of caring about privacy, but behind the scenes Google coordinates closely with the Big Tech companies to lobby the government to delay or destroy measures that would actually protect users’ privacy. Of course, effective competition is concerned with both price and quality, and the fact that Google coordinates with its competitors on the quality metric of privacy—one might call it privacy fixing—underscores Google’s selective promotion of privacy concerns only when doing so facilitates its efforts to exclude competition."


> Internal documents confirm that Google knows its users are deceived by its misrepresentations

Yeah. These silly terms of service mean nothing to anyone. Even Google knows this! Almost nobody reads them. Those who do, won't understand them. Who can really consent to all this surveillance under these circumstances? This is NOT a deal between equal parties, the user is severely disadvantaged. People click the checkbox because it won't let them create an account otherwise. They don't have a choice.

Courts should just invalidate the contracts and start treating Google as if nobody consented to its exploitation. Apply heavy fines for every single user wronged.


I always tell people that it would be against Googles interest to sell your data. Their deception is working exceptionally well and it's not even a lie.

After all there is much more money made in selling your attention repeatedly then there is in selling you data once.


I don't think the first one is a bombshell. It was always clear google was using personal data to target ads.


The first one helps to discredit the litigation.

The paragraph’s first sentence is supposed to insinuate that Google is lying about not selling people’s data, and the rest of the paragraph says that Google is not selling data. And then the last sentence makes a completely false claim using popular buzzwords.

What was the point of the paragraph, other than to invoke unnecessary emotions for no reason?


The jurors (your average american) won't notice that the first paragraph contains no content.


Is it worth considering then that maybe they would still be right to be shocked? It suggests that while technically not correct to say they sell the personal data, it may be an immaterial nuance because the negative effect is still the same. Third party publishers can use your personal data, through Google, to target you. That they don't get to see the data is irrelevant to that revelation. The nuance of implementation that makes this technically not a violation of privacy is no secret to those in tech, but I doubt the average American would care.


How is it not a material nuance? An individual’s data is not leaving Google’s computers.

Is anyone harmed or anyone’s privacy violated even an ad buyer is allowed to choose to restrict ads to ad recipients likely to have certain characteristics?


It's immaterial because the result of using the data is the same, the advertiser doesn't actually want my name and email, they just want to use information about me to target me better. Imagine instead of web advertising, it were phone calls. A random bicycle company calls you up one day and says, Hey Buddy, we know you were in a bicycle accident recently, we have a deal on new bicycles right now! You ask them where they got your number and how they know you were in an accident, and they say they don't actually know your number, they just bought the phonecall. It's immaterial that they don't know your phone number, because they're using it and information about you in order to influence you anyway.

That's the web advertising apparatus right now. Users are unaware of how much information about themselves they give up, and advertisers are happy to use that information to sell you stuff when you're most willing to buy it.

I personally find that manipulative and unethical, and I believe if it were outlined to the general public then they would also be pretty disgusted with the behavior.

I won't dispute that an actual privacy violation would be much worse, since a malicious actor can do more than advertise with real user data, but that doesn't make this scenario good either. For this particular purpose I don't think it matters if they have the real data or not.


Society has a long history targeted advertising before google. I doubt that is against the law.

There is quite a bit of difference in identifiable information about you being given to whoever wants to buy it, and giving someone the ability to show an ad to people of certain criteria.


It's not against the law no, which is the point of discussion here I think. I believe it should be, which might help explain some of my opinions above.

I don't think it's accurate to liken ubiquitous tracking of almost everyone across all their devices, to be the same as targeted advertising from the past. It's an entirely new behavior on an enormous, society size scale. It's having tangible negative externalities, remembering that advertising doesn't just include product placements. So you get those negative effects even without the privacy violation.

I'm not trying to compare this with privacy violations, I'm more trying to argue that for the issue being discussed in the antitrust, the technicality that it's not a privacy violation doesn't actually change much except that it's not illegal. The issue still exists.


> In Orwellian terms, it’s a beautiful thing for Google, the destruction of words like “sell” and “personal.”"

Disagree with the claim here. Certainly, Google is utilizing your personal information against you, but:

1. That's certainly not selling your personal info.

2. To make this argument, US states must concede that active commercial advertising has an aspect of harm and manipulation. I doubt any of them are actually willing to go ahead and adopt that position consistently.

Having said that... when we read Google's claim that

> it will “never sell your personal information to anyone”

let's also not forget that it's quite willing to give it for free to the US government, in bulk and forever.


Technically not sharing your user data, I would suggest that in practical terms it is selling the use of your personal data. It's a nuance that may not matter in the publics eyes, which I frankly agree with.

So if we may agree that it is exploitive but not technically illegal, then I think we can reason that we are the edge of what is right to do and it's time to consider how to make the exploitive thing illegal.


The writer of the doc sports a quill of unbearable lightness: it is very much an Orwellian thing, to stretch selling something to include using the knowledge of that thing in marketing something else.


I've had a few people call me a shill for Google on these threads since I'm a Xoogler/Ex-Facebooker (it's literally in my profile) so I'm going to quote myself here [1] from 7 months ago:

> Giving advantageous ranking (including, but not limited to, showing AMP content in Top Stories) is the very definition of using your market power in one area (search) to force publishers to adopt something else you created.

> For a company that is (or should be) very careful about attracting antitrust attention from the US/EU, this seems completely reckless.

I've always hated AMP. Publishers are forced into it by the ranking advantages. Users have no opt out. It breaks the mobile UI (eg pinch to zoom). It's horrible.

There was a time when the idea wasn't terrible because a lot of websites were terrible and slow on mobile, somewhat ironically in no small part due to all the ad libraries they loaded.

But it was clear who benefitted the most here was actually Google. Now I always suspected that this was the result of some org trying to increase their impact.

If it turns out as the suit alleges:

> To respond to the threat of header bidding, Google created Accelerated Mobile Pages (“AMP”), a framework for developing mobile web pages, and made AMP essentially incompatible with JavaScript and header bidding. Google then used its power in the search market to effectively force publishers into using AMP.

Boy oh boy is that a problem. And again I'm going to say I called it.

The other damning part:

> The speed benefits Google marketed were also at least partly a result of Google’s throttling. Google throttles the load time of non-AMP ads by giving them artificial one-second delays in order to give Google AMP a “nice comparative boost.”

Wow. Just... wow.

[1]: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=26561769


> There was a time when the idea wasn't terrible because a lot of websites were terrible and slow on mobile

Yes, and that time was the early 2000's, and the solution was not AMP but WAP[1]. Google effectively re-invented WAP about 15 years after it was no longer necessary.

[1]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wireless_Application_Protocol


I had completely forgotten about WAP, but i remember using a WAP browser of some sort on an old Sybmian Nokia now i think about it.

Before add-ons worked with Firefox mobile (and I could install ublock), browsing the web on a phone was awful. If i remember it was around the time that AMP launched in 2015 that Firefox mobile got add-on support. So there was certainly a problem more recently that 15 years ago.

The adverts on news sites were so bad that AMP was able to make mobile pages clearly better from a UX point of view. But that was largely a problem of Googles own making, and their "generous" fix was obviously stacked in their favour.

All users needed was the ability to install an ad-blocker on their mobile browser, but of course Google was never going to allow that for Chrome.


I've seen lots of comments recently in response to the Google & Facebook advertising issues suggesting that Google should be split into X, Y, and Z.

Most of the proposed splits seem like they would do absolutely nothing to address the issue at hand, though. The problem in digital advertising seems to be that Google controls the marketplace, as well as both the buy & sell sides. Even a "breaking apart" that proposes splitting "search" from "advertising" would do nothing to address the issues that are getting raised at present.

I'm not an advertising expert, but these issues seem pertain to the buy-side, sell-side, and marketplace associated with digital advertising. Any company that still controls all 3 of those will retain the existing problem.


Just ban advertising straight up. This will kill Google, Facebook, Twitter and all the other companies ruining the web. Not one tear will be shed at this point.

Also, make it a huge liability to store any kind of personal information. Apply heavy taxes on every single bit stored. These companies should be trying really hard to forget all about us the second they send our HTTP responses, not hoarding our personal information like a bunch of stalkers. Make it exceedingly expensive for them to do it and they'll stop.


You know as well as I do that that will never happen and would probably destroy the economy. As bad as these companies are, flat out killing them is not a good idea.


If the economy can't survive the loss of these abusers, it deserves to be destroyed. If we do something, we gotta go all the way. Half-measures do nothing.


It turns out that people actually prefer getting products for free with ads to paying for products. As bad as google and facebook are, they are providing what people want at the exact price point they want.


You do realize what the destruction of the economy would entail? That it would mean that many people would lose their livelihood and suffer?


I think banning online ads will be awesome for economy.

Serving ads is doesn't create any value. By now, it's just a tax to be payed to google/facebook.

Why do you think banning online ads gonna destroy the economy?

These internet companies don't even pay a lot of taxes, we allow them to move profit across jurisdictions to optimize.


If the economy only stands because of people consuming things they never would've bought on their own it deserves to burn. This mentality is killing us along with the planet.

I really want to see a society wide experiment on banning ALL forms of advertising, be it digital or physical.


What happens when a Chinese knockoff Google comes along and captures the online ad market? Now you've created a new version of the same problem without any leverage.


I have slightly simpler proposition - ban digital advertising.

Or at least ban the 'dynamic' one - the one which tries to match the user's preferences. Just static, random ads akin to TV or billboards next to the roads.


How would that address the issue of Google rigging the bidding by owning the bidding mechanism, marketplace, and managing publisher inventory? There would still be a real time auction taking place for each impression.


A huge part of this document is about how Google has exclusive access to user ids. If nobody can use user ids, then they don't have those advantages anymore.


exactly.

and it also puts the lid on profitability of walled gardens - as you cannot sell those cohorts to advertisers.

It would be a net gain for society as a whole


My view is that this is an issue finance has already solved. Just regulate ad exchanges for fair practice, require disclosure or transparency to identify anticompetitive behavior, and then license the fuck out of everyone who participates in the market. Seems like the industry has grown enough and clearly is suffering due to lack of sufficient management of externalities and monopoly powers.

The harder part is executing on the above strategy. You will need new institutions or see an expansion or extension of existing institutions. Imagining the FCC trying to do this seems both a likely approach and an incredibly ineffective one.

I would add too that improved regulation of consumer and private data would help significantly. This is probably more likely than the above.

This lawsuit seems like the perfect timing and impetus to get serious about regulation in the digital ecosystem. Just hope we don't fuck it up.


> The harder part is executing on the above strategy. You will need new institutions or see an expansion or extension of existing institutions. Imagining the FCC trying to do this seems both a likely approach and an incredibly ineffective one.

I completely agree and that's what scares me more and more about big tech. We let these huge companies grow for years without really considering the scalability of managing them and now we find ourselves desperately needing to regulate them but not really knowing how.

It reminds me of the content moderation problem with Facebook, the cost of hiring enough humans to adequately deal with content moderation there would quite possibly bankrupt the company, and they know that.

How do you find a sustainable oversight/regulatory strategy when the companies themselves were founded largely on their desire to not figure out those kinds of problems in the first place?


> Even a "breaking apart" that proposes splitting "search" from "advertising" would do nothing to address the issues that are getting raised at present.

Alone it wouldn't help, but what if you split search from advertising, and forced the "search" part to up advertising to the highest bidder, not just from google ads?

If Google Search really was its own company and with its own shareholders, getting the most money for a bid would be more profitable than colluding with the rest of former Google.


Google should be sliced horizontally, not vertically. Each resulting company would own a percentage of current business.


As a public company, it's arguably already sliced that way. What difference would it make if it's sliced further?


sure lets slice the computers, engineers and offices horizontally as well


downvote all you want but the parent comment makes no sense - you can't horizontally slice products - that would only make sense if Google had clients that could split fairly among several sub-companies. But sure keep armchairing.


It's simple, you just have $GO deliver the left half of the searchbar while $OG handles the right.


You say this as if it were a bad thing.

And while it may be hyperbolic to literally slice engineers, anyone who engaged in a criminal conspiracy (from coder to CEO) could be tried and, if convicted, jailed. Having this happen broadly would certainly be illuminating for anyone working in this space in the future.


Let's never forget that we techies need to help protect the integrity of the internet even if there is no immediate, obvious harm to consumers. We're all at least suspected that Google was playing dirty with AMP, but it was frequently defended based on some pretty trivial consumer benefits. I see some minds being changed in this thread, especially when it comes to AMP, so that's a step in the right direction.


159-169, about Google being able to decrypt end-to-end encrypted WA (WhatsApp) communications is terrifying. The fact that Google has known this for over 5 years and made no effort to notify the public is what really got me. What's fucked up is that Google Drive backups are the only ones WA offers, and naturally everyone wants their messages backed up so they turn it on, not knowing the implications.


Slight nitpick I know but decrypt here is the not quite the right word. The communications are still encrypted in flight but they are necessarily decrypted (by WhatsApp) on the end (your device). This unencrypted file is then provided to drive if you select back up with Google drive in WhatsApp.

I'm in two minds about this one. I'm not really a fan of Google but realistically we're talking about backing up messages from a Facebook app. It is also possible to opt out and I know non technical people who have done so on the basis they don't want "more Google".


> This unencrypted file is then provided to drive if you select back up with Google drive in WhatsApp.

And in terms of the grandparent's point about the public not being notified for 5 years, perhaps not by Google is accurate, though it was raised by Telegram's founder in response to Snowden's recommendation of WA back in 2016 [1] and covered elsewhere [2]. Snowden was rather dismissive of the relevant point about this, which always puzzled me.

[1] https://twitter.com/durov/status/778618631060066304

[2] https://web.archive.org/web/20170729003715/https://www.makeu...


> This unencrypted file is then provided to drive if you select back up with Google drive in WhatsApp.

Why can't they just encrypt the data?! It makes no sense. I manually back up my messages because of this. After some time WhatsApp will start nagging me to enable cloud backups. I suppose this fits into the "annoy users until they give up their privacy" theme in the litigation document.


Encrypt it with what key? WhatsApp doesn't have passwords, it's fully based on phone number verification. Do you want WhatsApp to hold the key for you? Or prompt you to create a key which they won't be able to recover?


> Or prompt you to create a key which they won't be able to recover?

Yes. I have a YubiKey I could use for this.


Google clearly should have communicated this better, but also not exactly shocking.

How would you make a backup end-to-end encrypted without asking for a passphrase or relying on on device storage? I don't think its technically possible.

Maybe google could have tied it to your login credentials, but then no more password resets.


I think WhatsApp addressed this recently. It was an issue with both iOS and Android, where chat backups were not end to end encrypted. I think this was an absolutely absurd gap that betrayed customer trust, but it isn’t clear to me if Facebook is more at fault than Google and Apple or if it is the other way.

WhatsApp blog post on encrypted backups: https://about.fb.com/news/2021/10/end-to-end-encrypted-backu...


And what are the implications?

Is Google analyzing uploads to Google Drive to serve you targeted ads? That would be a big breach in trust.


> Is Google analyzing uploads to Google Drive to serve you targeted ads?

Is there any reason to believe they're not doing that? It's already a known fact that they scan files for malware and other illegal files such as CSAM. WhatsApp backup contents are a gold mine of personal information.


Well, they explicitly say so in their privacy policy.

> We don’t show you personalized ads based on your content from Drive, Gmail, or Photos.


Yes, but that wording carefully evades explicitly saying they don’t scan content in the service of ads. For example they still could use your drive content to enrich how they target to other people who have similar profiles.


The PDF reads (pg. 62):

> In addition, the Google Drive website, the Google Drive mobile application, and the Google Drive Terms and Privacy policy all failed to disclose to users that Google as a third party had access to their WhatsApp communications. The Google Drive terms of service at the time even permitted Google the ability to use its access to users’ private WhatsApp communications in Google Drive to sell advertising.

The last sentence suggests that yes, Google could have analyzed your uploads to serve you targeted ads.


> and what are the implications?

Remember when Google was working on the DoD’s autonomous murder drone project?

Isn’t WA the predominant means of text communication for people who travel abroad regularly?


> Remember when Google was working on the DoD’s autonomous murder drone project?

They did just a demo, Amazon and Microsoft are the biggest contractors in that space. News media loves to shit on Google in these scenarios but most of it is just Google trying to take a pie of markets others are already in. So all these articles just amounts to Google becoming as evil as the other tech giants.

For example, we know Microsoft takes on these DoD AI projects. Maybe the VSCode telemetry is used to help them make murder drones? We also know Microsoft collaborates with CCP to operate its bing search in China. Maybe they hand over the VSCode telemetry to CCP? People don't ask those questions about Microsoft, so why ask them about Google?


Did you miss the early 2000s when we were all on Slashdot which headed every Microsoft story with Bill Gates in a Borg costume? Of course people accuse Microsoft, we've been accusing Microsoft since before Google existed.

If you did miss that time because it's outside of your time in the tech world, the difference here is that Microsoft never claimed to be anything but a B2B software dealer with a passing fascination with extending its monopoly to the consumer markets. It tried cable TV boxes, phones, and all sorts of other hare brained ideas but the Xbox was the only one that really stuck.

Google PR image'd itself as the anti-Microsoft. No feature creep, just a plain white page that showed you what you wanted to find. Features in the core search product were subtle and generally high on usefulness and low on intrusiveness. Even the Google ad business was marketed as the acceptable compromise between the brain-melting strobe light ads of the late 90s and the word-based ads that people would not object to.

tl;dr: Google had to work at burning all of its bridges.


WA?


WhatsApp. My bad on that one - edited it.


Given that Google is critical for US intelligence supremacy and technological dominance, I am curious what the US chooses to do with it.

Surely from a free market perspective and for long term growth, it needs to be broken into pieces in such a manner that would destroy its monopoly power.


>Given that Google is critical for US intelligence supremacy and technological dominance, I am curious what the US chooses to do with it.

Peter Thiel says Google is anti-American because it chooses to work with China but not with US. I wouldn't quite agree with Thiel but I would say that Google's neoliberal culture and neoliberal agenda is starting to become destructive and counter- productive in the long term.


"Anti-American" is rich, coming from someone who would sell the 4th amendment to the highest bidder.


In the age of modern technology and the internet I think the sense and meaning of privacy is lost because everything is out there on the net waiting to be misused, abused, hacked, stolen, leaked or caught just like fish in the ocean.

If I was US gov. I would've made law in the early 1990s that says every website, blog etc. is private property and no entity has right to crawl it if not given permission basically eliminating early Internet Search Engine industry meaning the behemoth like Google would probably never exist.

I would also made law that says that private information of a person can only be used in order to facilitate payment transactions with operators that provide and sell goods and services meaning ecommerce e.g. (Amazon, Ebay, Uber, Airbnb etc.)

Basically this law would eliminate early Internet Social Networks like MySpace and Facebook which thrive on using private information of the people for creating ad solutions for advertisers. Subscribing to social networks(buying Social Network service) would made privacy and security situation much better than it is today.

But internet and world would be much different place and I think that using Google and Facebook for "free" comes with big trade-offs that every person needs to evaluate personally or government needs to step in with clear and strict privacy laws.


> If I was US gov. I would've made law in the early 1990s that says every website, blog etc. is private property and no entity has right to crawl it if not given permission basically eliminating early Internet Search Engine industry meaning the behemoth like Google would probably never exist.

it would have existed, just outside of the US


Crawling a website in my opinion is akin to someone snooping inside your house and making a index of rooms and stuff you have.

Robots.txt protocol exists but it is not even official internet standard under IETF. You can break robots.txt rules and there are no consequences at all. If robots.txt protocol was made law then it would be whole another story.


But would it still be a "free market" if governments just go around splitting up companies once they get (too) big?

Not defending the idea of a free market here, I'm leaning pretty far past socialist myself, but I know that the US in general cares deeply about free market philosophy.


It is about making sure that the free market is actually working not so much about freedom as in freedom of expression - any course about economics will have section about monopolies and its societal cost - showing charts like this:

https://college.cengage.com/economics/0538797274_mceachern/s...

The cost is real but so is the national security advantage.


So in order to keep the free market working, we have to make it... less free?

I thought the definition of a free market is one that is free of government/outside regulation and interference. But it's also a market that is free of monopolies, apparently, and the only way to get rid of a monopoly is via government/outside regulation and interference. Isn't that a contradiction?

Perhaps we should use another name for a market where we restrict monopolies -- that site you linked talks about "competitive markets".


I would argue that markets tend towards greater "order" over time. The idea that regulations are something only the government does is somewhat misleading and it leads most free market proponents to turn down sub-optimal pathways.

Instead, it is more useful to see the initial state that new "green-field" markets are in as desirable. Open for anyone, including small companies, to come in, build something ground-breaking, and then grow.

Overtime, the system tends towards a steady state where one of the companies, or a set of companies start to dominate the others, leading to the formation of cartels. These cartels then impose regulations, be it on the lifespan of bulbs, or on the particulars of the ad market, which are then enforced using the capital and power they have obtained.

These are regulations in all but name. They're enforced by an implicit threat of economic consequences and by restricting access to resources by changing the landscape. In this case, it's Chrome and FB, which are pushing their dominance to ensure that the web becomes theirs - explicitly. They're doing this by buying out the 'land' (Chrome, Android, Search, Social Media, Ads), the 'suppliers' (think about the sheer number of open source projects that Google funds and nudges their way), and the market ("it's all free!") thereby making it practically impossible for anyone to pose a threat to their dominance.

Google is controlling who becomes a competitor by enforcing rules – in this case, secret rules – that only they know of and about. They are, in essence, regulating the market, except towards their ends.

Power abhors a vacuum. If a power hierarchy doesn't exist in a new space, then a new power structure will organically develop in place. Whether or not this new structure is aligned with the incentives of the broader community and new entrants/players/innovators is dependent on who and how the structure is formed.

This is why I would argue that at least with Governments there's a theoretical method of incentive alignment and accountability when things wrong. Methods that have been exercised in the past to course correct. Corporations lack that.

It would be the lesser of two evils to create ways to reverse stale fields to the original green field state every once in a while to allow new ideas and companies to grow. It might be more valuable to do so than to allow the continued monopoly of these companies.



I don’t know if it “free” but I do know that monopolies that abuse their market position makes for a less efficient market.


For a market to be free it must be well regulated. If a market is controlled inordinately by a few, it ceases to be free.


Then it's not a truly free market, because central planning (regulation) is sometimes overpowering the price mechanism.


The idea of a robust, enduring free market itself needs to be questioned.

Complete economic freedom leads to monopolies, who then act to preserve and benefit from their position. They do this because they know everyone else both wants that position and would do the same thing to maintain it. All this happens because growth is seen as necessary. Always necessary.

Markets with rules can check those behaviors, but come with other complications, a big one being bought and paid for rule making by bigger players doing what?

Maintaining position and growth.

In the end, why do we even allow markets?

To benefit people.

Factored down, rules aimed at insuring markets actually do serve the people means the people have to have a say in the rules created with authority granted by the people for the purpose of improving things for the people.


> In the end, why do we even allow markets?

Because it's the best we got, historically. Decentralized price mechanism outperforms wetware planning at allocating resources efficiently. Now software has changed that and central planning is much more capable.

Truly pure free market economies are virtually impossible, because as soon as the first firm is formed, it becomes a mixed economy. That is, economic transactions done within the firm are not done according to the global price mechanism, but to other rules and conventions. And the only way to prevent firms from being formed would be some extreme regulation i.e. central planning...


And does it not follow the idea of free markets is questionable?

I have long thought it is.

Historically, we got all of this out of the need to benefit from our collective labor and resources, developed tech...

The only reason there are markets at all is for our mutual benefit.

And it follows from there to evaluate market rules to insure that actually happens.


Monopoly, while the end goal of any actor under capitalistic system, is the antithesis to capitalism itself. Capitalism exists to force competition.

So yes, splitting a monopoly should be part of 'free market', as having monopolies basically destroys it.


I think a “free market” has to retain some degree of competition and choice. Companies above a certain size (of capitalization) or with natural anti-competitive elements (like network effects) or with ownership of multiple sides of a market or with massive patent war cheats all impede competition. They move the free market away from a competition driven incentive to something more stagnant that can discourage entrepreneurial competitive innovation.


> I think a “free market” has to retain some degree of competition and choice.

An ideal market is both competitive and free, but the former is not a component of (and is often, outside of abstract ideals, in tension with) the latter.


There are a lot of allegations here and I'd like to know which ones turn out to be true.

That said, I'd also like to understand the motivation behind the fact that only red states AGs are in the plaintiffs. I rarely associate red state AGs with any form of integrity and in fact red state governments generally represent the frontiers of kleptocracy. So color me skeptical


I've worked in advertising/media buying, at a header-bidding at network that (obligitorily) used DFP/Ad Manager, and an enterprise publisher. Its all true. Their hegemony of ad serving (which isn't free), their bid preference, their rigging of AMP ads, and also search promotion of AMP properties are all extremely real and monopolistic dynamics. I wish this action came sooner.


I think this will potentially be the lawsuit of the year. Really interesting read.

A lot of the monopoly advantages seem to focus on AdX. I wonder if demanding that Google shall not participate in the ad exchange business could slowly open up competition in all the other markets...

For example, they were concerned that header bidding would make AdX fees go down to 5% instead of 22%, thus they used their advantage in the ad server market to stifle this (plus the FB deal). They are able to do this because they control both markets and can modify the data protocols between these two pieces. Same applies to scrambling IDs (ad servers and display markets)


Surprising that Volkswagen and Boeing can be under scrutiny and pay massive fines but this EvilCorp gets a pass at everything.


The surprising (or not so surprising) thing about VW was that anyone who works in ECU tuning can tell you that a)the emissions cheating has been going on for decades and b)everyone has been doing it. They can pop open the assembly language for the ECU and said "and here's where it detects a signal from the ABS controller that only two wheels are being driven, and here's the data table of mixture and timing values it switches to."

It was also pretty absurd given that the US used to exempt "trucks" (including SUVs and even "crossovers") from passenger car emissions standards. This was (decades ago) to make things easier for farmers, supposedly, by sparing them the cost of emissions control equipment on their farm trucks. But the auto industry sold the government on the concept that what amounted to a jacked up station wagon car on bigger tires somehow didn't need to meet the same emissions standards as a passenger car, so they got to make more powerful engines with less emissions controls, and this is part of the reason we have SUVs everywhere.

I've been told by multiple Ford superduty owners that they rip out the urea injection and diesel particulate filter systems because "they're unreliable" and "it's such a pain keeping the DPF fluid topped off" and "it hurts performance." You can buy DPF in damn near any gas station that sells diesel, any auto parts store, any big-box retailer, any truck stop...and you get a warning well before the tank runs dry.


I hope we can keep politics out of this thread, but I couldn't help but notice all of the plaintiff states are dominantly Republican states. Any ideas why that would be and why the "blue" states aren't present?


> Any ideas why that would be and why the "blue" states aren't present?

Most of Google's political donations go to democrats.

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/policy/technology/90-perc...


For anyone else wondering, the article seems to suggest that it's not Google donating, but the employees:

> From 2004 to 2017, $15 million donated by employees of Google and its related companies went to Democrats, and just $1.6 million went to Republicans. Alphabet was created in 2015 as an umbrella company for these companies.

The article's source [1] verifies that the data is about the companies' employees, not the companies themselves.

[1]: https://web.archive.org/web/20191212055101/https://www.govpr...


There is a bias against technology in the red tribe, as they generally lean left (or are perceived to do so).

Not that it matters, we need a new generation of anti-trust over this. Google must be prohibited from engaging in selling or buying ads.


You "hope we can keep politics out of the thread", and then, shockingly enough, are the only person to bring politics into an antitrust thread about gross systemic abuse of Google's size and power to drive standards and privacy.


Not sure about this particular case but I think there's multiple different ones going on so just looking at this might be a bit misleading of whose taking an interest. Eg. there's an NY case mentioned here: https://ag.ny.gov/press-release/2021/attorney-general-james-... The Biden DoJ is also digging: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/09/01/technology/google-antitru...


I assume it's because Republicans are, on average, more butthurt about technology companies of late because of the bare minimum level of fact checking some of the social platforms have engaged in during the most recent election cycle. Regardless, Google should be nailed against the wall, and though there is little doubt in my mind they will in absolutely no way be appropriately punished for their poor behaviour, it's difficult to complain about people taking shots at them.


I assumed it was because of the major tech industry presence in the states that are conspicuously absent. Offices and datacenters, and thus lobbyists on retainer.

I admit I'm not very current on this stuff, but isn't Texas one of the few states in that list that has a sizeable number of datacenters?


Could you expound on "bare minimum level of fact checking "? It seems to me that one tribe was proportionately de-platformed for their violations of ToS and is unhappy with not having the power to do something about it.

If the road to hell is paved with good intentions then maybe the road to heaven is paved with bad intentions?


Don't be taken in by the idea that balance for the sake of balance is some kind of absolute good. If I say that the earth is flat, and you say that the earth is round, the newspaper headline probably shouldn't be that nobody can agree on what shape the earth is.

One tribe, as it happens, says rather a lot more daft and dangerous things than the other. It's not possible to _hope and good cheer_ someone into doing something, but it is possible to _terrify_ them with angry rhetoric and falsehoods. I think people who are making a bunch of shit up should probably not be given a megaphone, whether they're speaking for my tribe or yours.


Except both tribes put out slightly difference flavors of the one major falsehood: that US foreign policy helps anyone, anywhere, for any reason, ever.


They lobbied on some antitrust bills:

https://www.opensecrets.org/federal-lobbying/clients/bills?c...

An interesting one is the "1 Agency Act", which was "To transfer antitrust enforcement functions from the Federal Trade Commission to the Department of Justice, and for other purposes." -- https://www.congress.gov/bill/117th-congress/house-bill/2926...


Welp, it's time to de-google my networks then. Facebook traffic is already blocked, now I wonder how much Web content I will lose when I block all google traffic.


That's a complicated topic. Because man things stop working if you block whole Google from your network. Just imagine webfonts or embedded Google maps like in apps Uber or Yelp.


Yes, exactly. Many websites already don't work if they use any of google-based frameworks or services, while my ad blocker blocks non-1st party domains by default. If a website or app doesn't work then, well then c'est la vie.


If this becomes too big of a deal then Google will just shut down Google Ads to other sites, or spin it out as a separate entity. It doesn't make them that much money compared to just running ads on their own site, and nobody can claim they are anti-competitive in a marketplace that only serves ads for their own sites.


Google should be broken up into 5 parts: Search/Adwords/Mail/Drive, Android, Chrome, Maps & GCP.


Ads would need to be split up further, as well. It's ridiculous that Google controls the marketplace, buying of ads on that marketplace, and selling ad placements.


Agreed! GCP should be broken up as well. It is incredibly unfair to third party services that Google is both supplying the platform and the competing services. This is probably a bigger problem on AWS though.


No ads should be separate from everything imo. Drive and mail can each make money on their own.

Search and AdWords are too tied however.


You mean Google Ads - and no they don't have to be too tied together. What is so special about Google Search that Google Ads has to be owned by the same entity? I have websites with ads on them and I don't own the ad network either like 99.99999% of every other publisher out there


Because they sell specially-formatted ad spots that are supposed to look like results, not generic display ads.


They can continue to do that and it doesn't need to be part of the broader Google Ads entity that places ads on other websites and operates an even broader ad exchange

Think about Pinterest, Quora, or FB, for example, they have "native ads" but they don't operate Internet-wide ad exchanges


Wasn't that what lettergram was saying? They specifically were talking about AdWords (regardless of whether that's the current name), which is Google's search ads system, not all of Google Ads.


Google Ads is a single entity that does both and AdWords is now known as Google Ads. So what he was actually referring to is ambiguous...


That would mean 5 monopolies. I would split them in 5 parts, each owning 20% of all current businesses.


There's a very clear conflict of interest between ads and everything else google does, and the documents alledge some abuses of the monopoly position around that conflict. So any kind of antitrust breakup is very likely to start there. Personally, I think it would be quite interesting to split ads from everything else and then split ads itself into a few competing entities.

I'm not sure you get a benefit to the consumer from having multiple entities who can all still do search and manipulate ads, keyword sales and search rankings for example.


But the ads are how google exists. They keep the lights on and the campus hedges trimmed. If you spin off a google without ads then would it even succeed or would the google with ads just take its old monopolistic position as soon as society allowed (forgot) it?


A monopoly is fine if it doesn’t hamper competition and doesn’t use its position to impact unrelated markets.

Shimano has a near monopoly on bike parts, and it’s mostly fine. DJI dominates the pro drone market, and it’s fine. All monopolies aren’t evil.


Context matters. With the intellectual property situation as bad as it is right now, the monopolies those companies hold give them a nearly unbeatable advantage in squashing competition. Their IP holdings let them immediately tangle up any new businesses with massive legal hurdles, regardless of the merits of their claims.

DJI being in China means they will lie, cheat, and steal from competitors such that meaningful competition becomes impossible.

Innovation and consumer value suffer. Monopolies automatically and unavoidably hamper competition and have secondary impacts on unrelated products through inflation of pricing, e.g. if a cog is overpriced it's taking spending away from other markets.

Corporations are not people, they are constructs that act toward to goal of self preservation at any cost. Once they exceed a certain size, individual humans in the loop lose meaningful control over the behavior of the company as a whole.

The international legal situation we find ourselves in automatically places Chinese companies outside the reach of accountability to any rules by which most of the rest of the world have to abide.

By themselves, monopolies could be functional participants in a healthy economy, but there are too many factors making that position completely untenable right now.


So you are saying that no one entity could own more than 20% of alphabet? And it would retain all of its monopoly power?


How would this help?


You'd need to control the flow of people between those companies for this to work well. It'd be a challenge with us Labor law


Sovereign states are anemic by now and i'm skeptical that they would want to fight where the money and (real) power is, and if they grow some balls, or stop being so corrupt, even than, i'm skeptical that they will manage to win this fight.

We are entering into a new era where big techs are so massive they can fight sovereign states and win, heading us into a new era of neo-feudalism were "civil rights" are only granted if they are not in the middle of our new digital lords lust for profit and power.

So people might think this is unlikely and conspiratory, but its just natural human nature, social dynamics and following the political vectors by the aggregation of the past events.

If they are willing, they know the secrets of everyone, and its just a matter of pressing the right people to bow to their will and that's it, we become the fools of Weimar republic that were not aware of the dangers ahead of us, because there were no historical precedent to make us vigilant and aware, and all the signs were well aligned to a hostile takeover.


Only the ads part needs to be broken up. It funds all the other parts, so they'd break up or shut down on their own.


Problem is only one of those things make money.


Android's Play stores makes a lot of money. So much so that it's quite comfortable reducing its fees from 30% to 15% for some developers.

Maps already charges fees for all location-based apps (cabs, deliveries, fleet tracking etc) like Uber. It may have to tweak its pricing, that's all.

GCP has a revenue model as strong as AWS. There's a reason why Google is pumping money into it.

Chrome is the only one that could be called a loss leader but given its dominance, it can figure out a model. If Adobe photoshop can survive as a paid software, so can Chrome and its Developer Tools.


That's not a problem, that's an opportunity.

Don't we all love "disrupting" things?


I'd say 3 of those make money. The first one, Android with the Play Store, and GCP with Firebase gaining popularity, should all be bringing in enough money to be self-sustaining.


Google has a TON of retired properties that were profit-makers, but not unicorns. Smaller Baby Googles would likely find solid revenue bringing some of them back.


Youtube man!

Youtube must be split from Google ASAP!


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