Google Reorg Puts Search Under Ad Boss Raghavan; State AGs May Seek Breakup Of Google Ad Tech Biz

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Tying Together The Googleverse

Google has undergone several re-orgs since Prabhakar Raghavan took over as SVP of advertising and commerce in 2018. And the changes are still coming. This week, Google CEO Sundar Pichai told employees that Raghavan will also lead Search, including news, podcasts and Google Assistant, and the Geo team, which runs Google Maps, according to a memo obtained by Search Engine Land. “For some time now, I’ve been thinking about how we could bring the voice of the user more clearly into our products so we can be more helpful to them,” Pichai wrote. Another reason could be to head off antitrust action. US states and regulators are considering options to break up Google’s ad tech, so splicing everything together under Raghavan could make it harder to force divestitures.

50 Horsemen Of The Googlepocalypse

Speaking of Google’s antitrust situation, US state attorneys general are leaning toward a suit pushing for the breakup of Google’s ad tech business, CNBC reports. All 50 states have been examining Google’s search, Android and ad tech businesses for potential violations. But a breakup isn’t imminent. CNBC’s anonymous sources also say the AGs may only pursue fines and changes to Google’s policy, or commitments Google must uphold via a consent decree (like, say, allowing other ad tech companies equivalent access to YouTube inventory). “In Google’s case, pushing for a breakup of its ad technology business may be difficult, some lawyers say, because it does not exist as a stand-alone unit easily hived off.”

Contact Tracing For Profit 

Privacy violations abound as Google and Apple open app stores to contact tracing. One contact tracing app served targeted ads based on browsing history, despite ad-supported contact tracing apps being against both companies’ policies. The lack of standards around these apps and the information they can collect and share makes it hard to regulate the new category. These apps handle and process sensitive healthcare information and potentially user info and location data for advertising, according to a study of 100 apps by The Wall Street Journal and the International Digital Accountability Council (IDAC). Some apps have no privacy policy and include code that connects them to social media. “Undermining public trust by failing to live up to best practices could hamper pandemic response,” said Quentin Palfrey, president of the IDAC.

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