Google faces scrutiny over ads as US trial nears wrap-up 


Google is facing scrutiny over advertising practices amid an antitrust trial by a United States court.


Judge Amit Mehta presided over the final stages of a US antitrust trial concerning Alphabet Inc., parent company of Google, casting a spotlight on the tech giant’s advertising practices.


Over two days of closing arguments, Mehta posed questions to both sides, providing little indication of his eventual ruling.


At the heart of the trial is the allegation that Google has unlawfully maintained a monopoly in online search and advertising, particularly through exclusive multibillion-dollar agreements with companies like Apple Inc. for default search engine placement, according to Bloomberg who reported the news first.


The trial also addressed concerns about Google’s dominance in the advertising sector, with the government arguing that this dominance has allowed the company to raise prices on advertisers unchecked.


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The proceedings mark the culmination of a case that began six months prior and represents the first antitrust trial involving a US technology company in over two decades. Mehta is expected to deliver a verdict later this year, which could potentially require Google to restructure its business operations.


What to know

In response to the allegations, Google defended its practices, asserting that search ads are just one of many avenues available to advertisers.


However, Justice Department lawyer David Dahlquist contended that Google’s search ads are essential for reaching consumers and that the company has exploited its dominance to increase prices and limit transparency for advertisers.


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The trial also delved into Google’s document retention policies, with Mehta expressing concern over the company’s practices. Specifically, Google’s “Communicate with Care” program, which automatically deletes chat messages after 24 hours, came under scrutiny.


The Justice Department argued that this policy constituted a deliberate effort to withhold evidence, while Google maintained that the chats were deleted as part of routine practices.


Ultimately, the outcome of the trial could have far-reaching implications not only for Google but also for the broader tech industry. As Mehta deliberates on the case, the tech giant faces scrutiny over its advertising practices and approach to document retention, with potential sanctions looming depending on the judge’s ruling.


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