- Google proposed to close its doors in December 2020
- Was in response to the News Media Bargaining Code
Google planned to block Australians from using its services three years ago after introducing a law that would force the company to pay media publications for news content.
The proposed shutdown was discussed in explosive emails that surfaced as part of the U.S. Department of Justice’s (DOJ) antitrust case against Google.
The DOJ launched a civil antitrust action against the tech giant in January, alleging that Google had “monopolized several digital advertising technology products.”
Emails from Google product manager Bryan Mao revealed plans to close the company in Australia in December 2020, following a deal with Samsung.
Emails from Google product manager Bryan Mao revealed plans to close the company in Australia in December 2020, following a recent deal with Samsung.
“Do not discuss (redacted) explicitly with Samsung before the AU closes,” Mr. Mao wrote, documents filed in the antitrust case show.
“There is a confidential project called (redacted) which could affect Samsung.
“In short, due to a new law in Australia, search features may be disabled from December 3 across Australia.
“This includes Discover and most/all search and assistant features. If this comes to fruition, it would obviously have a major impact on Samsung devices in UA.
“The closure certainly won’t happen, but we’re planning for it anyway. This is obviously not our ideal way to start a new relationship with Samsung.
Samsung would “immediately” be informed of the shutdown as soon as it occurred, but not before, according to the documents.
The Justice Department launched a civil antitrust action against Google in January, alleging that the tech giant had “monopolized several digital advertising technology products.”
Google had also simulated a “404 page not found” in the event of a shutdown, with a message stating: “Search is not currently available in Australia. Due to a new law, Google Search is not available, but we hope to return to it soon,” Umbrella reported.
Daily Mail Australia has contacted Google for comment.
The proposed closure follows Australia’s News Media Bargaining Code, developed to combat the enormous power of Google and Facebook by forcing them to pay media companies for news content.
The code became law in March 2021.
Facebook temporarily blocked all news content in February 2021 and also removed charity pages, emergency services providing information about Covid, domestic violence shelters and missing persons groups.
Facebook’s news ban sent shockwaves around the world and sparked campaigns to remove the app.
“Delete Facebook,” “Boycott Zuckerberg,” and “Facebook We Need To Talk” began trending on rival site Twitter.
The ban was lifted a week later after a compromise was reached between the company and the Australian government on the new code.