Google has launched a secret project to boost its ad buying system: report

Google operated a secret program, known as “Project Bernanke”, which relied on data from past bids in the search engine giant’s digital advertising exchange and allegedly gave its own system of buying advertisements an advantage over its competitors, reported the Wall Street Journal.

The secret program’s name was revealed in an incorrectly unredacted document that Google had filed in a Texas antitrust lawsuit.

Saturday’s report said Google’s program was not disclosed to publishers, who sold ads through the company’s ad buying systems.

A federal judge has allowed Google to refile the document under seal.

Texas filed an antitrust lawsuit against Google in December 2020, alleging the company ran a digital advertising monopoly that negatively impacted both ad industry competitors and publishers.

In the unredacted filing, Google wrote that Project Bernanke data was “comparable to data maintained by other shopping tools,” according to the Journal.

The secret program that Google operated would have given it the ability to modify its customers’ bids.

In court documents, Texas cited a 2013 internal presentation in which Google said Project Bernanke would bring in $230 million in revenue that year, The Verge reported.

(With agency contributions)

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