This Twitter thread from @fasterthanlime has a bunch of scathing highlights from the full 173-page PDF of the filing.
A few nuggets. Re: false claims about AMP performance (p. 90):
After crippling AMP’s compatibility with header bidding, Google
went to market falsely telling publishers that adopting AMP would
enhance page load times. But Google employees knew that AMP only
improves the “median of performance” and AMP pages can actually
load slower than other publisher speed optimization techniques. In
other words, the ostensible benefits of faster load times for a
Google-cached AMP version of a webpage were not true for
publishers that designed their web pages for speed. Some
publishers did not adopt AMP because they knew their pages
actually loaded faster than AMP pages.
The speed benefits Google marketed were also at least partly a
result of Google’s throttling. Google throttles the load time of
non-AMP ads by giving them artificial one-second delays in order
to give Google AMP a “nice comparative boost.” Throttling non-AMP
ads slows down header bidding, which Google then uses to denigrate
header bidding for being too slow. “Header Bidding can often
increase latency of web pages and create security flaws when
executed incorrectly,” Google falsely claimed. Internally, Google
employees grappled with “how to [publicly] justify [Google] making
You can’t justify it.
On using Chrome, the browser, as a workaround for tracking users across the entire web, by conflating logging into Chrome with logging into Google’s own web properties (p. 95):
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. These users also had to give Google permission to use this
new Chrome tracking data to sell Google’s own ad space, permitting
Google to use Chrome to circumvent reliance on cookie-tracking
technology. The effect of this practice is to rob publishers of
the exclusive use of their audience data (e.g., data on what users
read on The Dallas Morning News), thereby depreciating the value
of publishers’ ad space and benefitting ad sales on Google’s
properties (e.g., YouTube).
My post earlier today about Photoshop for the web going into public beta exemplifies the aspects of Google’s expansive vision for Chrome’s technical capabilities that make many web developers love Chrome and dislike Safari.
The details in this antitrust filing exemplify everything that is wrong — deeply contrary to the intended open nature of the web — about Google controlling the most popular web browser in the world.
See also: This lengthy thread from Financial Times reporter Patrick McGee. E.g., one of Google’s own employees compared Google owning the dominant ad bidding exchange as akin to “if Goldman or Citibank owned the NYSE”.
★ Tuesday, 26 October 2021