State attorneys general of 48 states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia announced a major probe Monday into Google's dominance in search and advertising for practices that harm competition as well as consumers.
"This is a company that dominates all aspects of advertising on the internet, as they dominate the buyer, seller and auction side", Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton was quoted as saying.
Google and its subsidiary YouTube were fined a record $170 million to settle allegations by the Federal Trade Commission and the New York Attorney General that YouTube illegally collected personal information from children without their parents' consent.
Bipartisan attorneys general representing 48 US states and two territories announced plans to investigate whether Google is a monopoly that prevents competition.
"We will use every investigative tool at our disposal to determine whether Facebook's actions may have endangered consumer data, reduced the quality of consumers' choices, or increased the price of advertising", James said".
According to research firm eMarketer, Google leads the U.S. digital ad market with a 37.2 percent share worth some $48 billion this year and is expected to control 20 percent of all United States ad spending, online and offline combined.
On Friday, a company blog confirmed that the DOJ has officially requested information from Google regarding its business practices.
Landry said that Google's dominance in the digital advertising market could "kill online publishing", or Google could decide "who stays and who goes".
Connecticut's Attorney General wants to know more about one tech giant's outsize influence in the digital marketplace.
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"The state attorneys general, they are an independent bunch..."
"The facts will lead where the facts will lead", he said. But antitrust is very different from privacy and consumer protection, which is something both Google and Facebook have been fined over in the past.
The joint state investigation into Google is the latest probe of a big technology firm by U.S. authorities.
Republican attorney general Jeff Landry of Louisiana called Google's domination "an absolutely existential threat to our virtual marketplace".
But federal and state regulators and policymakers are growing more concerned not just with the company's impact on ordinary internet users, but also on smaller companies striving to compete in Google's markets. Google needs an intervention so that it becomes a company less dominant in search and advertising and much more respectful of everyone's privacy.
The company - and peers such as Amazon, Facebook and Apple - have long argued that although their businesses are large, they are useful and beneficial to consumers.
Charlotte Slaiman of the patron group Public Information welcomed the brand new investigations as "an vital and highly effective step" which "may help customers and modern opponents entry markets for platforms which are extra honest and extra aggressive".
The Justice Department is also investigating Google for antitrust issues.
"But to protect the integrity of our work, we can't comment - to confirm or deny any pending or potential investigation", the spokesperson said.
"Google, as well as the other Big Tech companies, are highly politically unpopular now".