Report: Former Ads Chief Disrupted Google Search

  • 27 Apr, 2024
Report: Former Ads Chief Disrupted Google Search

Internal emails disclosed during the Google vs. US lawsuit have exposed insights into the individual dubbed "the man who killed Google Search" by Edward Zitron's newsletter, "where'syouredat?" Zitron's analysis not only identifies the person accountable for the deterioration of Google Search but also delves into the gradual decline of the once-popular search engine.

In 2019, Google Search faced a "code yellow" situation due to falling revenue and user engagement. Jerry Dischler (VP/GM of Ads) and Prabhakar Raghavan (Head of Ads) pushed for more users and ads to boost profits. However, Ben Gomes, then head of Search for 20 years, opposed compromising Search quality for profit.

Gomes repeatedly voiced his discomfort with the code yellow situation, expressing deep concern that Google's methods to expand Search and increase revenue were becoming too profit-driven. He emphasized feeling "deeply, deeply uncomfortable" with the direction Search was heading, fearing it was becoming overly focused on monetary gains.

Even after Gomes handled the code yellow situation, Raghavan wanted more, saying Search still needed more user queries. Zitron explains that during code yellow, Google went back on anti-spam measures from 2012 and 2018 and purposely made ads look more like regular search results.

Also read: Google Maps Enhances List Suggestions

In 2020, Prabhakar Raghavan, who implemented many changes during code yellow, took over as head of Search. Zitron blames Raghavan for pushing out Ben Gomes, calling him a "class traitor." Zitron also mentions Raghavan's past with Yahoo, where he oversaw a decline in market share. Zitron concludes by saying Raghavan represents the problem of tech being led by managers who don't understand the products, holding him responsible for harming search.