U.S. states launch probe into Google as tech giants come under scrutiny

48 US states launch antitrust probe on big techs Google ads in focus

Meanwhile, attorneys general in states as politicallyas different as Texas and NY where Republican Ken Paxton and Democrat Letitia James are respectively joining together to investigate Google.

But Yost told National Public Radio on Monday that it's a "possibility" that the probes of Google and Facebook could lead to a forced breakup of the companies. Multiple attorneys general are also investigating Facebook for. well, everything Facebook does.

The move, described as a preliminary probe of Google's actions in online advertising, highlights the growing complaints about Big Tech dominance and follows a separate investigation into Facebook announced last week by a coalition of U.S. states.

The opening of the investigation comes mere days after the New York Attorney General Letitia James announced a similar antitrust investigation into social media giant Facebook covering seven states and the District of Columbia.

"But to protect the integrity of our work, we can't comment - to confirm or deny any pending or potential investigation", the spokesperson said.

Racine, the lone Democrat at the press conference, said the probe was off to a good start, though it's too soon to say how long it might last.

Fiona Scott Morton, a Yale economics professor and former antitrust official at the Justice Department under the Obama administration, said it's important that states are taking the lead because the Trump administration is "not really enforcing antitrust law except against companies the president is upset with".

Over the past decade, Google has been one of the biggest political donors in Washington, but this time around, the political environment is much less favorable to Google. In the meantime, Google has faced withering scrutiny around the world, particularly in Europe, where regulators have issued the company $9 billion in competition-related fines over the past three years. "When most Americans think of the Internet, they no doubt think of Google". Regulators also could focus on areas such as Google's popular video site YouTube, an acquisition Google scored in 2006.

On Monday, Reyes and Racine joined forces again - this time flanked by almost a dozen mostly Republican state attorneys general on the steps of the Supreme Court and dozens more from both parties who signed onto the formal investigation.

A Google booth at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

"Google is one of America's top spenders on research and development, making investments that spur innovation, " Walker wrote.

"On the one hand, you could just say, 'well Google is dominant because they're good, '" said Jen King, the director of privacy at Stanford's Center for Internet and Society.

A good first place to look might be online advertising.

According to eMarketer, Google is expected to collect more than $48 billion in US digital ad revenue this year, capturing 75 percent of all spending on search ads in 2019.

"What we've all learned is that while many consumers believe that the Internet is free, certainly we know from Google's profits of United States dollars 117 billion that the Internet is not free", he said.

The tech titan is my go-to web browser and search engine; I'll even admit that I often use "Google" as a verb.

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