The federal case is the first major antitrust matter to go to trial in more than two decades, with the global tech giant charged with using its indomitable size and reach to limit competition to its popular search engine.
The bench trial in the U.S. District Court of Washington, D.C., is expected to last about three months, and will be heard by Judge Amit Mehta, who will issue a final ruling without a jury.
Google faces massive fines and potential restructuring that could change many of the familiar features of the search engine.
The government claims Google attempted to crush its smaller rivals by signing exclusive agreements with other tech giants — like Apple, Samsung, Mozilla, and Firefox — to make its search engine the first to pop up on devices when users search the Internet.
The lawsuit also alleges the Internet titan gobbled up many of its digital advertising competitors, and then forced publishers and advertisers to use Google products, while also working to discredit any competing products that remained on the market, like DuckDuckGo.
Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai was expected to testify, as well as other big tech executives, including Apple senior vice president of Services Eddie Cue.
The outcome of the trial holds deep implications for the future of the Internet and is likely to change how tech companies can conduct business deals that ultimately impact a wide swath of the population that had grown increasingly dependent on the Internet.
The case was filed in October 2020 during the final months of the Trump administration, with then-Attorney General William Barr alleging Google had enriched itself through deals that made its search engine the default browser on millions of mobile devices and other platforms.
“This lawsuit strikes at the heart of Google’s grip over the Internet for millions of American consumers, advertisers, small businesses and entrepreneurs beholden to an unlawful monopolist,” Barr said at the time.