The Latest: Groups praise states for launching Google probe

Technology

FILE – In this May 1, 2019, file photo a man walks past a Google sign outside with a span of the Bay Bridge at rear in San Francisco. A group of states are expected to announce an investigation into Google on Monday, Sept. 9, to investigate whether the tech company has become too big. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on states’ antitrust probe on Google (all times local):

3:25 p.m.

Several advocacy groups are lauding state attorneys general for opening an investigation into Google’s market power.

The consumer group Public Citizen says the time has come for tech giants like Google to be held accountable for violating U.S. antitrust laws.

A bipartisan coalition of 48 states along with Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia said Monday it is investigating whether Google’s search and advertising business is engaged in monopolistic behavior. It follows a Friday announcement of a similar multistate probe targeting Facebook.

Another group, Public Knowledge, says the state-led investigations are a powerful step forward after years in which the companies’ market power went largely unexamined.

The advocacy groups say the action from states might also put pressure on federal antitrust enforcers, who have already opened similar investigations.

The Open Markets Institute, which favors more competition, is also weighing in with support.

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2:30 p.m.

California and Alabama are the two states that haven’t joined an investigation into Google’s market dominance.

The coalition conducting the probe is led by Texas and consists of 48 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.Attorneys general say they will probe the potential for monopolistic behavior from Google.

A spokeswoman for California’s attorney general would only say the state is committed to fighting anti-competitive behavior. She says she won’t confirm or deny the existence of any investigation. Google has its headquarters in California.

Alabama officials had no comment.

Regulatory pressure is ratcheting up on tech companies. Monday’s announcement comes just days after a separate group of states disclosed an investigation into Facebook’s market dominance.

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2:15 p.m.

States investigating Google’s market power say that the tech giant’s dominance in search will be one of the key areas of focus.

A large group of states led by Texas announced the probe Monday, just days after a separate group of states disclosed an investigation into Facebook’s market dominance.

Karl Racine, attorney general for the District of Columbia, says the probe is about Google’s potential monopolistic behavior.

Google’s search service is often the starting point for millions of people when they go online. Google dwarfs other search competitors and has faced harsh criticism in the past for favoring its own products over competitors at the top of search results.

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2:05 p.m.

A large group of states led by Texas is announcing an investigation of Google’s market power and whether it unfairly squelches competition and hurts consumers.

The announcement comes just days after a separate group of states disclosed an investigation into Facebook’s market dominance.

The probe by the bipartisan group of attorneys general from nearly every state widens the antitrust scrutiny of big tech companies beyond sweeping federal and congressional investigations and enforcement action by European regulators.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is making the announcement at a news conference in Washington.

Google’s parent company, Alphabet, has a market value of more than $820 billion and controls so many facets of the internet that it’s fairly impossible to surf the web for long without running into at least one of its services.

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2 a.m.

A group of states are expected to announce an investigation into Google on Monday to investigate whether the tech company has become too big.

The investigation is the latest in a series of probes against Google and other big tech companies. Congress, the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission are also conducting probes.

Reports indicate that Google will be the target of the latest investigation, which will be led by Texas. A separate state-led investigation into Facebook was announced last week.

Investigators are likely to look at areas of Google’s business that have drawn past criticism, including its online search and advertising services as well as its Android smartphone operating system.

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