Meet Jim. Jim has made it halfway through the workday with success—he hasn’t opened a non-work-related browser tab once!
The US Open is happening, and staying offline for the duration of his Friday morning was Jim’s penultimate goal. At 12:30 pm, Jim rewards himself with a quick little browse. He deserves it.
Jim types “us open results” into Google, gets his 8-minute golf fix, and gets back to work. Returns some emails. Chats with his employees over Slack. Hours later, Jim goes home. He can’t help himself—he pulls up Google again to see how Fowler is doing.
For the next week, Jim is served a myriad of golf-related ads: clubs, golf balls, gloves…
And then something odd happens. Jim is served an ad by Google itself. “How bizarre,” Jim thinks to himself. “Why is Google Ads serving me a Google ad?“
Turns out, legislators are asking the same question.
Google Violates Antitrust Laws, According to EU
The European Commission has hit Google with new antitrust charges, determining that the company’s online advertising practices have breached EU antitrust rules. Specifically, the Commission found that, since 2014, Google has used its dominance in the marketplace to undermine competitors. As the primary player on both sides of the ad-selling market, the EU Commission said that Google abused its position by favoring its own ad exchange.
In a news conference, European Commission Vice President, Margrethe Vestager, said, “Google is representing the interests of both buyers and sellers. And at the same time, Google is setting the rules on how demand and supply should meet. This gives rise to inherent and pervasive conflicts of interest.”
What will happen next? Well, Google could be fined up to 10% of its global revenue, or ordered to change its business practices. Both EU and US authorities agree that “the only way to address this egregious conflict of interest is to force Google to divest part of its business.”
So, in short, Jim may not be seeing too many Google Ad Google ads if the company ends up being charged.