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Google credits talent for success in antitrust trial

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Google is defending its position in its antitrust trial by highlighting its reliance on innovation and the expertise of its talented employees.

The search giant said it’s not using restrictive contracts backed by billions in payments to industry partners. 

Pandu Nayak, a vice president of search at Google, is at the forefront of this defense. 

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Nayak argues that Google's competitive edge is attributed to the brilliance of its people tirelessly working to enhance its products.

The central argument in the case, filed by the Justice Department and 38 states, is that scale is essential for competition in the search industry. 

It asserts that the more user data a search engine accumulates, the better it improves its service, attracting more users, advertisers, and ad revenue. 

The government and states argue that Google secures a significant data advantage through exclusive contracts.

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They claim Google’s annual payments to companies like Apple and Samsung exceed $10 billion.

These transactions have helped the firm become the default smartphone search engine and computer browsers.

Pandu Nayak's testimony aims to challenge this perspective. 

He provided a comprehensive explanation of the advancements in search technology, emphasizing the importance of innovations in language understanding in enhancing search quality. 

In his testimony, Nayak noted that using less data didn’t significantly impact search quality.

He highlighted the significance of intelligent software over data volume.

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In earlier testimony, the DOJ’s economic expert, Michael Whinston, estimated that Google's exclusive contracts prevented rivals from accessing a substantial portion of user search queries in the US.

The power of default search engines was underscored as a significant factor in user behavior.

Despite the common practice of exclusive contracts in the search industry, the size of Google's deals raised eyebrows. 

Nayak discussed Google's investments in search, such as maintaining an extensive web index and employing thousands of human raters worldwide to evaluate search results.

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During cross-examination, Google's lead lawyer, John Schmidtlein, acknowledged the prevalence of exclusive contracts but emphasized their scale.

The Justice Department and states argue that Google's massive payments to secure exclusivity suggest a more significant motive at play.

Nayak conceded the importance of data but reiterated Google's position that sheer size does not necessarily equate to superiority. 

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