The DOJ calls out Google search

Ever wonder why almost everything you search automatically turns into a Google search? 

The US Justice Department (DOJ) sure has, and now they’re accusing Google of paying companies billions each year to remain the default search engine on browsers—illegally. 

  • By paying off Apple and Samsung (allegedly), potential competitors can’t scale up, equating Google to the Raptors if they took on your high school basketball team. 

Why it matters: You can change your default search engine pretty easily, but most people don’t know that, according to Google competitor DuckDuckGo, because of Google’s default.  

The allegation came at the first major hearing in the DOJ’s antitrust suit against Alphabet for its dominance in the online search market. A formal trial is expected to start next year.

Yes, but: Google’s legal team responded by saying that companies choose to work with them because partnering with the biggest search engine is the best business decision.

  • The DOJ accused of having a skewed view of Google’s competition too, which isn’t really search engines—it’s other tech giants trying to be the go-to information source.
  • Google might have a point: A recent survey found that 40% of Gen Z’ers prefer to use apps like TikTok and Instagram to discover information. 

Zoom out: Consumer choice in big tech is often limited. The few options consumers have around choosing a search engine from the outset are a small, but crucial, example.