- The US Department of Justice is expected to sue Google as soon as next week.
- It’s believed that the lawsuit accuses Google of putting search rivals at a disadvantage.
- The department is also said to be investigating search advertising under Google’s search box.
Google has faced several legal challenges in recent years regarding its search and advertising business, and it looks like the US is next in line to take aim at the company.
According to Reuters, citing three sources familiar with the matter, the US Department of Justice is set to file a lawsuit against Google as soon as next week. It’s alleged that the department is also calling on state attorneys general to sign onto the suit.
The lawsuit reportedly accuses Google of trying to put search rivals such as Bing at a disadvantage. More specifically, it’s claimed that Google deprives rivals of “the data about users and user preferences” that these rivals need to improve their services and advertising.
Reuters says the Department of Justice is also focusing on search advertising that appears under Google’s search box, noting that Google controls these search boxes and the associated tools.
Recent actions against Google
This wouldn’t be the first time Google came under fire for its search and advertising practices, as the European Commission levied a €1.49 billion (~$1.7 billion) fine against Google last year for online advertising abuse.
The EU found that Google barred rival search advertisers — such as Bing and Yahoo — from displaying ads on publishers’ search pages. The EU also found that publishers had to get written approval from Google before making visual changes to rival ads.
Google was also fined almost $5 billion by the EU in 2018 for abusing its dominant position in the Android space. The EU took issue with Google requiring Android OEMs to bundle the Chrome browser and Google Search app if they want to install Google Play Services on their devices. The European Commission also said Google incentivized some manufacturers and operators to exclusively pre-install Google Search, and that it prevented partner OEMs from releasing devices with a forked version of Android.