The US Justice Department is readying an investigation of Google's business practices and whether they violate antitrust law, according to news reports, per the AP. The search giant was fined a record $2.72 billion by European regulators in 2017 for abusing its dominance of the online search market. In the US, the Federal Trade Commission made an antitrust investigation of Google but closed it in 2013 without taking action. Now the Justice Department has undertaken an antitrust probe of the company's search and other businesses, according to reports by the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times and Bloomberg. They cited unnamed people familiar with the matter.
Google, owned by Alphabet Inc., has faced mounting scrutiny over the past year. In addition to the 2017 record fine, European regulators also slapped a $1.7 billion penalty on the company in March for barring websites from selling ads from rivals alongside some Google-served ads near search results. Google says it has now ended that practice. Google commands the lead in digital ad revenue by a wide margin, apparently controlling 31.1% of global digital ad dollars. Facebook is a distant second with 20.2%. Politicians and outside antitrust analysts have expressed concern that Google controls too much of the digital ad process. It makes the technology, hosts the largest search site where ads appear, and collects data from all ad campaigns that it runs.
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