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Google argues that ‘rich results’ in Search provide more direct experience in antitrust suit response

Today, a second group of states filed a lawsuit that alleged Google Search “hinders” access to “specialized vertical providers” that provide travel and entertainment information. Google’s response to that antitrust claim is focused on how Search today is intended to benefit users.

Google says that users “prefer” all the features/sections — including “maps, links to products and services you can buy directly, flight and hotel options, and local business information” — that it adds to Search. The company even cited Microsoft Bing’s similar design as an example of “rich results” winning out. 

The post goes on to reveal how Google wants to publicly frame and sees the suit as potentially stifling its ability to “make Search better” by requiring the engine “to prominently feature online middlemen in place of direct connections to businesses.”

Redesigning Google Search this way would harm the quality of your search results. And it would come at the expense of businesses like retailers, restaurants, repair shops, airlines and hotels whose listings in Google help them get discovered, and connect directly with customers. They would have a harder time reaching new customers and competing against big commerce and travel platforms and other aggregators and middlemen. 

Google argues that it’s giving users a more direct relationship with businesses, and that the amount of traffic it sends to non-Google sites has “increased every year since Search was created.” There’s also an interesting factoid about how mobile Search result pages on average show 26 outgoing links compared to 10 blue links when Google was founded..

It then cites how various government entities around the world have “agreed that our changes are designed to improve your search results,” including: the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, competition authorities in Brazil, Canada and Taiwan, and courts in the United Kingdom and Germany.

The response to the Search antitrust suit ends by saying that Google is “prepared to answer questions and work through the issues.”

We look forward to making that case in court, while remaining focused on delivering a high-quality search experience for our users. 

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Avatar for Abner Li Abner Li

Editor-in-chief. Interested in the minutiae of Google and Alphabet. Tips/talk: