Google wants to protect you from malicious advertising and improve user experience. Last year, the giant search engine blocked more “bad” ads than ever before. Meanwhile, the company paid Apple big money to keep iPhone users looking at ads.
According to a Google annual report, 800 million weight loss rip-offs, misleading drug promotions, nasty pop-ups, and other despicable ads were shut down before users ever saw them. The number of suspicious ads continues to grow. In 2014, 524 million ads were blocked and 350 million the year before.
“Bad ads can ruin your entire online experience, a problem we take very seriously,” Sridhar Ramaswamy, Google’s senior vice president of ads and commerce, said in a blog post.
Google has beefed up its protections against these types of ads for the past several years. Out of its 60,000 employees, 1,000 of them are specifically assigned to monitor advertising.
Google has a very good reason to be sensitive about malicious ads. In 2011, the world’s biggest online search company had to pay a $500 million fine to the U.S. Justice Department for accepting illegal ads from Canadian online pharmacies.
So what is on Google’s agenda to protect ad integrity in 2016? According to Ramaswamy, the company will be on the lookout for automated bots that suck billions of dollars away from the advertising industry by creating bogus traffic.
Despite Google’s decline of millions of ads, the company isn’t hurting for money. According to a Bloomberg report, Google is paying Apple Inc., the maker of the iPhone, a huge fee to keep its famous search bar in front of customers.
A transcript of court documents from Oracle Corp.’s copyright lawsuit against Google show Apple received a whopping $1 billion from the search engine juggernaut in 2014. At a January 14 hearing, an Oracle attorney disclosed that Apple receives a percentage of the revenue Google generates through various iOS devices.
Although rumors of the agreement between Apple and Google have circulated for years, they were never confirmed until now. Neither Apple nor Google has commented on the information released in the court documents.
Oracle lawyer Annette Hurst said a Google witness questioned during pretrial proceedings claimed the revenue share between Google and Apple was 34 percent. It is unclear whether the percentage is the amount kept by Google or paid to Apple.
After an objection, Google’s attorney asked the judge to strike the mention of the 34 percent from the record.
“That percentage just stated, that should be sealed,” lawyer Robert Van Nest said, according to the transcript. “We are talking hypotheticals here. That’s not a publicly known number.”
The judge disagreed and refused to grant Google’s request to block the information from the public. Google continued to argue that the extremely delicate information could significantly impact future agreements with other companies. Apple had a similar argument and filed their own request to have the information blocked.
“The specific financial terms of Google’s agreement with Apple are highly sensitive to both Google and Apple,” Google said in its January 20 filing. “Both Apple and Google have always treated this information as extremely confidential.”
Interestingly, the court transcripts have since disappeared from the electronic court records, and there is no sign that the court subsequently ruled in favor of Google’s request to hide the information.
Roughly 96 percent of the smartphone OS market worldwide is unevenly split between Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android. In the second quarter of 2015, Google was the clear leader owning 82.8 percent of the market while Apple maintained 13.9 percent. However, Apple is slowly catching up since gaining two percentage points from the period the previous year, while Google lost two points.
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