Google reportedly ran a secret ‘Project Bernanke’ that powered its own ad buying system over the competition

Google reportedly ran a secret project called “Project Bernanke” that relied on bidding data collected from advertisers using their ad exchange to benefit the company’s own ad system. The Wall Street Journal reported. First discovered by newswire MLex service, the name of the project was visible in an unwritten document that Google had filed as part of an antitrust lawsuit in Texas.

Since then, a federal judge has allowed Google to re-archive the document in secret. But according to the daily, “Bernanke” was not disclosed to outside advertisers and was lucrative for Google, generating hundreds of millions of dollars for the company. Texas filed an antitrust lawsuit against Google in December, alleging that the search giant was using anti-competitive tactics in which “Bernanke” was a significant part.

Google wrote in the unwritten submission that Project Bernanke data was “comparable to data held by other shopping tools,” according to the daily. The company was able to access historical data on bids made through Google Ads, to change its customers ‘bids and increase customers’ chances of winning auctions for ad impressions, putting rival advertising tools at a disadvantage. Texas cited in court documents a 2013 internal filing in which Google said Project Bernanke would generate $ 230 million in revenue for that year.

It is not clear why Google chose to name the secret project “Bernanke.” Ben Bernanke, who was Chairman of the Federal Reserve from 2006 to 2014, is probably the best known Bernanke in the public sphere.

Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Sunday.

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