So far, Google has. at least publicly, vehemently denied using click data to sort search results. In the hearings currently underway in the USA regarding potential antitrust violations by Google, a different perspective is now emerging.
Eric Lehman, who worked for Google for 17 years on search quality and ranking, testified in court that Google uses click data for ranking. In addition, Google had given instructions not to confirm this information to prevent SEOs using this knowledge to manipulate search results.
In addition to the confirmation of using click data for, which is interesting for us SEOs, this also creates a problem for Google. The sheer size and market power of Google makes it difficult for potential competitors to offer search machines because they lack the relevant click data from the users.