How one power-hungry leader destroyed Google search

Google's search engine was once the crown jewel of the Internet, but one executive's power grab led to its spectacular downfall, reports tech writer Edward Zitron in his newsletter article, titled "The Man Who Killed Google Search."

In 2019, Google's ads team raised a "code yellow" alarm due to declining search revenue growth. This triggered a battle between the ads team, led by Prabhakar Raghavan, and the search team led by Ben Gomes. The ads team wanted to prioritize growth metrics over maintaining search quality. Gomes resisted, arguing that "growth is all that Google was thinking about" and that they shouldn't compromise user experience just to boost engagement.

Zitron, who used leaked emails and previous reporting, says that "Raghavan's relentless pursuit of 'queries with commercial intent' transformed Google Search from a neutral arbiter of information to an active purveyor of profit-driven content — a betrayal that sowed the seeds of the search giant's undoing."

(I've been using Perplexity more than Google lately.)

Previously: Get the oldest Google search results first