Posted on 10/25/2021
Search engine giant Google (owned by Alphabet) had a plan called “Project NERA” to turn the web into a walled garden they called “Not-Owned-But-Operated” or “NOBO” for short. Part of this plan was to have forced logins when you open the Chrome browser, according to the State Attorneys General suing Google, LLC in “IN RE: GOOGLE DIGITAL ADVERTISING ANTITRUST LITIGATION”. Project NERA was Google’s original plan to create a closed ecosystem out of the open internet.
According to the lawsuit, “To get publishers to give Google exclusive access over their ad inventory, Google set publishers up for a lose/lose scenario. First, Google started to leverage its ownership of the largest web browser, Chrome, to track and target publishers’ audiences in order to sell Google’s advertising inventory. To make this happen, Google first introduced the ability for users to log into the Chrome browser. Then, Google began to steer users into doing this by using deceptive and coercive tactics. For example, Google started to automatically log users into Chrome if they logged into any Google service (e.g., Gmail or YouTube). In this way, Google took the users that choose not to log into Chrome and logged them in anyways. If a user tried to log out of Chrome in response, Google punished them by kicking them out of a Google product they were in the process of using (e.g., Gmail or YouTube). On top this, through another deceptive pattern, Google got these users to give the Chrome browser permission to track them across the open web and on independent publisher sites like The Dallas Morning News.”
The State Attorneys General make that case that “Google has monopoly power in the publisher ad server market in the United States. Google’s monopoly power in this market is supported and evidenced by its high market share. More than 90 percent of large publishers use Google’s publisher ad server, Google Ad Manager (“GAM” f/k/a “DFP”), according to published reports. Google internal documents show that GAM served the vast majority—75 percent—of all online display ad impressions in the United States in the third quarter of 2018.”