Congressional lawmakers finally got a chance to grill Google CEO, Sundar Pichai. The major issue, which the hearing revolves around is, that the company is too overpowering, exploits the information at hand, and operates anti-competitive strategies.
Sundar Pichai denied all claims to stealing content from other websites when putting under scrutiny. He rejected reports alleging that the company drives the audience to its products and sites rather than sourcing it to any other competitive site.
In the opening statement, Sundar Pichai says Google takes pride in developing helpful products, and also in the number of people who choose our products. Our products are benefiting 140 Million who use G Suite for education purposes, 5 Million for gaining digital skills, from finding the fastest route to learning to cook. Later he added, we are only successful because America keeps innovating and we are proud to contribute in the future. He also talks about how the company has invested in the nation through capital and R&D, and how the search giant Google has generated employment across 26 states. Google’s digital offerings are one of the reasons why small businesses grow. He quoted some examples, like Stone dimensions, Gil’ Appliances that claim that Google’s digital products helped them to keep up with the market.
Pichai says that Google’s success is not guaranteed, new competitors are coming along, this drives us to innovate which leads to better products. The competition helped lower the online advertising costs by 40 per cent over the last decade. Using Android, people build and sell their own devices without paying any licensing fees to us.
Pichai further adds Google succeeds only when others succeed. These developments set higher standards for privacy and security as in these innovative circumstances data security is much needed and we have long supported businesses in this situation.
When Chairman David Cicilline enquired about Google using its surveillance over web traffic to identify competitive threats. To which Pichai responded that just like any other business we also observe trends and make sense of it to improve our products for our users.
When Cicilline said the panel had seen evidence about Google taking content from other websites and placing more ads on its search results, Pichai responded, we have always focused on providing users with the most relevant information and the vast majority of queries on Google, we don’t show ads at all.
Cicilline cited an investigation by The Markup that showed Google has devoted more space on the first page of search results to its products – which earn the company more revenue than if users go to other webpages. Pichai said that Google only shows ads when consumers are seeking to buy products and argued that they compete with other e-commerce platforms, like Amazon, where consumers often go directly to try to find products.