Google alters search queries to get you to buy stuff: Report

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Google is currently involved in an antitrust trial with the DoJ, and new info from the courtroom just keeps on coming. Wired shared a rather interesting report from the courtroom, revealing how Google alters search queries in order to get you to buy stuff.

New testimony shows us how Google alters search queries to get you to buy stuff

This reveal occurred while one of the company’s employees was on the stand. He basically revealed how Google boosts its profit by messing with search queries.

Now, the whole affair has to do with the so-called ‘Project Mercury’, which is allegedly “highly confidential”. This whole project is about generating more advertising revenue on the search engine results page (SERP).

The projector screen in the courtroom showed an internal Google slide which details changes to its search algorithm. This slide showed us a “semantic matching” overhaul of Google’s SERP algorithm.

Now, when you submit a query, what you’d expect is a search engine to “incorporate synonyms into the algorithm, as well as text phrase pairings in natural language processing”, says Wired. However, thanks to Google changes, things went way further. Google’s algorithm seems to have altered queries to generate more commercial results.

Google presumably does this “billions of times a day” in “trillions of different variations”

Wired assumes that Google alters queries “billions of times a day in trillions of different variations”. This way, shopping is always very close to your eyes, and just a click away, kind of. We don’t know how long has Google been doing this, though.

This trial started on September 12, and it’s expected to last for about two months. We’ve seen plenty of info thus far, even though it’s a semi-closed trial. We only get bits and pieces of what’s going on.

A number of high-profile people from the industry already testified, such as Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s CEO,, who took the stand recently. You can read more about the trial in our Google vs DoJ article, which is constantly updated.