Google has gone too far. Tech giant's recent actions are detrimental to everyone. – USA TODAY

The changes Google is making will affect millions of people who rely on publications – large and small – as well as small businesses.


 Google just made a change to how it does business, and it’s one that hurts not only businesses but consumers, too. While the tech giant says it’s part of its efforts to “address the quality of content showing up in searches,” in practice, that’s not what’s happening here.

Consumers turn to Google when shopping and when they do, they are greeted by advertising that generates significant revenue for Google.

Not long ago, shoppers saw more advice about products, and Google left it to others to recommend which to buy.

Google changes make it nearly impossible to find coupons online

USA TODAY has a decades-long history of helping our customers lead healthier and smarter financial lives through reporting and other initiatives that inform individual choices about how to invest, save and spend. As part of these initiatives, we have dedicated teams of journalists who cover the news along with other experts who review products and help readers get the best deals on goods and services, as well as coupons – a particular target of Google’s update this week – that many rely on for their families.

Now, coupons offered by newspapers websites are almost impossible to find when searching Google.

Coupons for our readers have been part of USA TODAY since 1982, long before Google existed.

We are a trusted brand and exercise considerable oversight over whom we conduct business with and who contributes as part of this longtime tradition, in keeping with our broader mission of serving our communities across the nation.  Where readers might click on one of our links, we disclose that we may earn a commission, but our recommendations are always independent.

Consumers and retailers will lose out

When Google implements policies that limit what consumers see while searching for deals, you might not find what could be most valuable. From Google’s perspective, they’re trying to solve a problem that exists in their business, to make search results better. But better for whom?

With no clear process in place, what they’ve done instead is wipe out expert arbiters. This hurts families who need to save and the retailers who want to offer valuable discounts. Truly, it hurts the entire consumer ecosystem.  

The changes Google is making go well beyond just coupons, and these new policies impact more than just the “big guy.” This will affect millions of people who rely on publications – large and small – as well as small businesses. These actions will have a significant impact on our readers, consumers and, more broadly, the concept of open internet.  

Google has created an ecosystem that is always tilted in its favor; its dominance gives it disproportionate power over what people see in the marketplace for ideas, goods and services.

What else will Google do to further impact all our lives … and our pockets? 

Scott Stein is vice president, general manager of USA TODAY.


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