Cory Doctorow’s 2023 essay introducing enshittification into the popular lexicon gave a name the vague feeling that the arc of platforms bends towards extracting increasing value from their users at the expense of the experiences that originally grew their usage. Edward Zitron’s report last month on the decline of Google Search gives a name to the individuals directly responsible for it:

“These emails are a stark example of the monstrous growth-at-all-costs mindset that dominates the tech ecosystem, and if you take one thing away from this newsletter, I want it to be the name Prabhakar Raghavan, and an understanding that there are people responsible for the current state of technology.

These emails — which I encourage you to look up — tell a dramatic story about how Google’s finance and advertising teams, led by Raghavan with the blessing of CEO Sundar Pichai, actively worked to make Google worse to make the company more money. This is what I mean when I talk about the Rot Economy — the illogical, product-destroying mindset that turns the products you love into torturous, frustrating quasi-tools that require you to fight the company’s intentions to get the service you want.”

The whole piece is an excellent example of reconstructing a narrative from public records—in this case, internal Google emails released as part of the DOJ’s antitrust investigation. It’s one thing to read Zitron’s story, but another to see the facts written down in presumed confidence by the actors themselves.