During a federal court hearing, DuckDuckGo CEO Gabriel Weinberg testified that Google's exclusive contracts have been an obstacle for his company in pitching its search engine as the default option for private browsing modes on other browsers. DuckDuckGo, which offers a privacy-centric search engine that competes with Google, had approached browser makers with the idea of integrating its search engine into their private browsing modes. However, Weinberg stated that they faced difficulties due to the contracts that these companies had with Google.
Google is currently facing allegations from the Department of Justice (DOJ) and a coalition of state attorneys general regarding antitrust violations. The DOJ claims that Google used exclusionary contracts to ensure its position as the default search engine on popular browsers like Apple's Safari and phones using the Android operating system.
Weinberg described DuckDuckGo's pitch to browser makers as a strong one, highlighting the company's research on consumer expectations of private browsing modes. According to DuckDuckGo's findings, many consumers are unaware that private browsing does not provide as much tracking protection as they might expect. The company presented this information to browser makers, positioning DuckDuckGo as a solution to the misleading nature of private browsing.
Despite generating interest from browser makers, DuckDuckGo faced challenges due to the contractual agreements between these companies and Google. Weinberg characterized their efforts as a "quixotic exercise" and ultimately decided to abandon the pursuit.
Google, however, declined to comment on Weinberg's testimony during the hearing.
The antitrust lawsuit against Google is a significant development in the ongoing scrutiny of the company's dominance in the search market. The outcome of this case will have significant implications for the tech industry and could potentially impact the landscape of search engine competition.