Google touches nearly every aspect of our modern lives. It’s how the vast majority of us search the web and watch videos. It may even be our phone operating system. That’s a lot of power for any one company to wield.
A new series of lawsuits seeks to test that power – and potentially curb it.
Google was dealt a blow this week when it lost an antitrust suit brought by Epic, maker of megagames like Fortnite, over monopolizing the Google Play Store, where Android users download apps, and also its payment system, the New York Times reported.
It’s not the first time the tech giant has faced legal challenges: Over the past decade it’s borne the brunt of restrictions and litigation for its privacy, ad targeting, competitive practices and more across the US and Europe.
While we won’t know what the consequences of this latest verdict will be until the new year, we can also peek ahead to other lawsuits that could upend other parts of Google’s business, including additional cases over whether Google used unfair advertising advantages to boost its search engine over competitors, whether Google illegally used its advertising tech and a slate of antitrust suits in Europe.
“It’s a period of massive uncertainty for Google, where they’re not sure what their business practices are going to look like in two or three years,” Sam Weinstein, a former Justice Department antitrust lawyer and current law professor, told the New York Times.
Why it matters
Google dominates the practice of PR. Whether we’re looking at getting our brand’s content high in SERPs, trying to create the right content for YouTube or working with our colleagues in advertising, it’s the rare day when you aren’t called on to use or appease Google in some way.
Whether or not Google’s practices are illegal is up to the courts. But these changes could ripple down and change how practitioners interact with this juggernaut, and even how its AI-driven tools such as Bard gather data. If Google has to divest from certain aspects of its business — a possible outcome in the ad tech suit — the 2025 landscape could look very different than it does today.
For now, keep an eye on these suits as they make their way through the courts.
Editors Top Picks
- For the first time, Netflix is releasing detailed, specific viewership data, a move it has resisted for years, CNBC reported. That resistance has led some Hollywood creators to eye the streamer with suspicion, an issue that burst wide open during the recent writer and actor strikes. The addition of an ad-supported tier also necessitates more data sharing. “This is probably more information than you need, but I think it creates a better environment for the guilds, for us, for the producers, for creators and for the press,” co-CEO Ted Sarandos told the press Tuesday. This is a reminder that it’s never too late to be transparent, open and begin to repair strained relationships. See Netflix’s full viewership data here.
- Kid Rock, one of the loudest voices against Bud Light in the wake of the Dylan Mulvaney controversy, says it’s time to move on. CNN reported that he appeared on Tucker Carlson’s X show and said the brand “deserved a black eye and they got one” for partnering with a trans creator on a single Instagram video, but that he’s willing to let bygones be bygones. “Hopefully, other companies get it too, but you know, at the end of the day, I don’t think the punishment that they’ve been getting at this point fits the crime.”
- It appears the New York Times is working to prevent some of the AI disasters publishers like Sports Illustrated and Gannett have faced. The Wall Street Journal reports that the Gray Lady has hired Quartz co-founder Zach Seward to serve as editorial director of artificial-intelligence initiatives. His job is basically figuring out guidelines for how the newsroom should incorporate AI into reporting in a responsible, sustainable way. “He shares our firm belief that Times journalism will always be reported, written and edited by our expert journalists,” newsroom leadership wrote in an email sent to staff about the hire. While not every organization needs a full-time staff member for this, it’s wise to find an internal champion for AI who can help set guardrails around use.